Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Dark Salvation - Der letze Weg

Dark Salvation are a melodic death metal band hailing all the way from Liechtenstein, a place where not many bands seem to dwell. The group formed in 2008 and a year later they released a live DVD, entitled Dark Winter Nights III 13/04/2009, which was followed up in 2010 by their debut full-length record, Bärgthron. Three years later and a vocalist change, Dark Salvation have ushered in their second full-length album, Der letze Weg. What does the new line-up change bring to the table for these melodic death metalists?

Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Label: Self-released/independent
Release Date: March 1st, 2013
  1. Intro
  2. Tränenmeer
  3. Schatten
  4. Eifersucht
  5. Lauf der Zeit
  6. Nachtgeschrei
  7. Blutrausch
  8. Sekunden meiner Macht
  9. Pfad der Freiheit
  10. Feuertod
  11. Endzeit
Total Playtime: 48 minutes, 24 seconds







Rating: 7.0/10




Dark Salvation are a melodic death metal band hailing all the way from Liechtenstein, a place where not many bands seem to dwell. The group formed in 2008 and a year later they released a live DVD, entitled Dark Winter Nights III 13/04/2009, which was followed up in 2010 by their debut full-length record, Bärgthron. Three years later and a vocalist change, Dark Salvation have ushered in their second full-length album, Der letze Weg. What does the new line-up change bring to the table for these melodic death metalists?

Liechtenstein... I'll be honest, I'd never heard of the place before receiving this disc in my mailbox. I did a brief bit of research into bands that are from that area, and out of 10 groups only 5 of them remain active, so it seems that the metal scene over there is quite small and potentially becoming smaller as time goes on. It leads one to believe that pretty much any metal music created by locals is fairly unique to their particular scene as there aren't a lot of bands to pick from; in fact, Dark Salvation are the only melodic death metal band from Liechtenstein that are still active, the rest are of the heavy metal/hard rock variety. So what may seem generic to us in North America may not seem as such to an area with hardly any metal scene. It's important to note this because Der letze Weg does come off rather generic for the melodic death metal genre, but by no means does that mean that the album is bad. It's actually filled with potent skill, innovative compositions and it has an overall light, airy feel that lifts the listener up.


The album begins with a beautiful synthetic introduction that is comprised of memorable violins and deep, bounding drum hits. This introductory track leads effortlessly into the next song, in which the listener is greeted with a mid-tone distorted rhythm guitar being backed by dissonant picking and a steady drum pattern; soon, the vocals kick in with an Amon Amarth style growl. The vocals are of the standard death metal variety, the range doesn't vary often but the growls that are given are quite powerful and attention grabbing, though the octaves could use a switch up now and then for zest or perhaps allowing the backing vocalist to contribute to more sections. The rhythm guitar generally sticks to palm muted riffs while the lead guitar overlays them with picked singular string accents. The rhythm guitar has a decently distorted, slightly gritty tone to it, a good contrast as opposed to the clean lead guitar. The lead guitar is not only clean in tone, but all of the chorus and verse picking as well as the quick solo tapping and hammer ons/pull offs are equally as clean and very precise. The bass is comprised of very soft walking lines and fret finger slides, however the element is barely audible unless the song structure pulls everything away and allows the instrument to have a small solo. The overall album would have a heavier feel to it if the bass was mixed in a more dominate manner. The drumming generally sticks to a moderate tempo and incorporates an abundance of cymbal crashes and hi-hat rides while mixing up the bass kicks and incorporating a few rolls. The drums are another area where the mixing falters, the listener can hear the bass kicks but there is no true dynamic emphasis for the bass drum. Sadly, the mixing on this content just doesn't do justice to the instruments in any way and leaves the material feeling softer than it should; the only really good thing that the mixing does is put the rhythm guitar in one speaker and the lead guitar in another so the album doesn't sound cluttered.

Der letze Weg is a decent album to add to the catalog of melodic death metal. The material leaves the listener feeling uplifted and hopeful as the lead guitar picks away very melodically with sniper accuracy and the drum beats gallop and blast in the background. The mixing is what really kills this recording, however, as it just doesn't do the instruments justice and leaves the content with a hollow feel since it lacks presence in both the bass drum and bass guitar. It's definitely a worth while listen, recommended to those who are fans of new Kataklysm and those that enjoy melodic death metal without any clean vocals.

Physical Copy Provided by: Dark Salvation via Metal Message

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