Listening to Dark Haunters’ new release, To Persevere Is Diabolical, reminds me of the first time I heard a symphonic black metal album. It was a split between Dimmu Borgir and Old Man’s Child, and I was blown away by the mix of heavy blackened riffs and melodic keyboards. Everything sounded so epic, almost like the soundtrack to some dark, fantasy-based movie full of demons and wizards. Dark Haunters have that same mix of brutality and beauty, which leaves me wondering why I haven’t heard about them before.
The keyboards on To Persevere Is Diabolical permeate every nook and cranny of the album, giving the songs a slightly gothic tone, similar to Dimmu Borgir or Cradle Of Filth. The guitar work, however, keeps things pretty brutal, ranging from speedy black metal to crunchy melodic death metal influenced riffs. Vocalist Aramor has a pretty impressive range, seamlessly going from deep death growls to ear piercing shrieks, which helps to add even more atmosphere to an already thoroughly atmospheric record. “In My Fortress” is a particular high-point, showcasing the full range of the band’s sound in one song; symphonic keys, fast riffs, layered vocals, and pounding drums rip come blasting out at the very beginning of the song, and don’t let up. Even when the pace slows down, Dark Haunters attack their instruments with jaw-dropping intensity, as can be heard on the Old Man’s Child-esque riff midway through “In My Fortress.”
The production on this kind of album is very important; making it too clean would really take the venom out of the music, but too raw would muddy up the symphonics. Thankfully, Dark Haunters absolutely nailed it, and give many of the major-label acts a run for their money. Everything is loud and clear in the mix, while still maintaining a very layered sound that reveals something new upon each listen.
If you like epic-sounding black metal, Dark Haunters will certainly be right up your alley, so go pick up a copy of To Persevere Is Diabolical stat!