Thy Darkened Shade- Liber Lvcifer I: Khen Sedjet (WTC Productions)

Thy Bloated Album

I’ve always quite enjoyed Greek black metal. It’s got a unique flavour to it that makes it quite distinct. This is why I was a bit disappointed to learn that Thy Darkened Shade, who hail from Greece, don’t incorporate any of those influences into their sound. Instead, the band chooses to follow a far more Scandinavian path and as we shall see, it can be something of a mixed bag.

One thing is for certain, Thy Darkened Shade certainly had ambitious hopes for this album. It’s piously devout Satanic themes, grandiose song-writing and clean production are clearly styled after Scandinavian stalwarts such as Watain and Dissection. Take, for instance, the angular yet melodic guitar-work on Revival Through Arcane Skins. It straddles the line of death metal like Dissection is wont to do, yet retains a decidedly cold and icy quality to it. The technicality of the music is also impressive with each song displaying some chromatic noodling or acoustic passages. A particular highlight is the bass playing which is laid down on a 6 or 8 string instruments and is layered very nicely. Quite often, the bass leads are more interesting than the guitar playing.

There is one major downside to this ambitious approach though. In trying to capture an epic and grandiose atmosphere, Thy Darkened Shade way overshoots the boundary of well-paced material. At 78 minutes long, this album is one hell of a slog to get though in one sitting. The length of the album mightn’t have been too much of an issue if the band had the writing chops to back it up. Unfortunately, there’s rather a lot of filler to be found here. Songs are needlessly padded and song passages are repeated ad naseum. There simply aren’t enough ideas here and it makes sitting through the whole album a chore. The production, handled by V Santura of Triptykon is also a little too clean for my liking.

There are some moments of promise on this album, but they are ultimately overrun by the length of the album. If you’re a devout black metal fan, it might be worth a spin just to see for yourself if you like it, otherwise I’d wait and see if they learn a bit of editing when the next one comes around.

Liber Lvcifer I is out now