Darkness can come to us in many forms, and that is especially true when it comes to music. Foreboding sentiments, grief, and sorrow can take on different weights and shades, and depending on the artist and situation, you either can be overwhelmed with heaviness or overcome with emotion. Both ways work, and each are welcome at doom’s ever-growing table.
When it comes to UK artist Jayn H. Wissenberg, who helms the shadowy project Darkher, she tends to lean more toward delicacy and ghostliness to express what’s going on inside of her. She debuted with this concept on 2014’s arresting first EP “The Kingdom Field,” which remains a personal go-to recording, and now is back with her captivating debut full-length “Realms.” Over these nine tracks, Wissenberg takes the haunting promise she showed on her first EP and stretches that into a fuller vision. The record goes down so smoothly despite its thick emotions and seeming transcendence into another world entirely. You’ll slip right into those visions, visit her dark dreams, and take on the very tumult and chaos that led her to create this record. With the autumn not very far off, this music is going to sound perfect when the air is chilled, the ground is damp, and the remnants of summer are in the midst of decay.
“Spirit Walker” starts the record as a brief introduction, with eerie noises and a murky soundscape that spills into “Hollow Veil,” where the guitar work starts to prick at your skin. Wissenberg’s singing reminds of PJ Harvey’s more dangerous work, as she calls out, “My heart forever bleeds,” with her ghostly calls fading out with the music. “Moths” is acoustically picked at the start, feeling chilly and rainy, and giving off an essence of vulnerability. “I want to live, not be afraid,” Wissenberg laments, as the power of the track picks up and drubs, and a dense fog arrives and obscures the visions. “Wars” lets guitars simmer and swell, with the drums kicking up and driving the tempo forcefully, and mesmerizing singing icing your brain. As the song goes on, it feels like doom is arriving, with angelic vocals swimming, and the playing driving through your heart. “The Dawn Brings a Saviour” is quiet and vulnerable, with rustic acoustics and sorrowful singing, as Wissenberg calls, “Don’t say you’re never coming back.”
“Buried Part 1” has cellos cutting through like a saw dividing the soul, as soft singing spills in and helps the track blend into “Buried Part 2,” where the guitars start to jostle awake. Thick strings bring gothic drama, with doom-rich guitars dropping hammers, and the drama of the song spitting sparks. As the track goes on, the guitars get heavier, and the strings soar into the skies, leading right into “Foregone.” Evocative choral melodies and steely guitars set the stage, while Wissenberg demands, “Don’t fear anyone’s name,” amid a noir-rich atmosphere. The track heads into heavy, burly terrain, while the soundscape rises and falls and eventually is absorbed back into the earth. Closer “Lament” begins as noises hover overhead, with guitars spiraling and the strings stinging. “I long for the rain to keep on falling, let it wash all my tears to the ground,” Wissenberg sings solemnly, as the pace gains steam, gives off a mystifying fog, and disappears into the atmosphere.
Wissenberg’s amazing gift for expressing darkness is something to behold, and “Realms” is her official unfurling into the world. This record is intoxicating and spiritually limitless, and Wissenberg’s expressive voice and ashen charisma elevate these songs to an even higher level. She is one of the more gifted new artists opening new channels in the doom realm, and Darkher is a project that hasn’t even cracked the surface yet of what it’s truly capable of accomplishing.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/DARKHERMUSIC/
To buy the album, go here: http://en.prophecy.de/pre-order-bundles/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.prophecy.de/