Darkher
The Buried Storm

You’re going to know whether this is for you very quickly. Darkher plays a brand of music that isn’t really metal, but straddles that line between what can be called dark and heavy in other ways. Think along the lines of Chelsea Wolfe and King Woman and you’re close. While “female-fronted metal” is just a broad term used by dudes who can’t find the clitoris to give a fair warning that “there’s a chick in the band, bruh” and these days isn’t so much a descriptor as a cop out, those dudes need not apply here. So, yeah, heavy, but maybe not quite metal… Oh, and Jayne Maiven is a lady, so can we move on and talk about the music now? Neato.

I dig Chelsea Wolfe and that King Woman album from last year was not talked about enough, but the truth is that it’s music for a specific mood. What typically comes to mind for me is walking in the woods by myself hoping not to get attacked by ferals. Or hoping for it, depending on my level of bravery for the day… and the sexiness of said ferals. I digress.

This is all to say that there’s a lot of breathing room for the instrumentals, copious amounts of quieter moments, and ethereal, soulful female vocals. It’s like the soundtrack to a folk horror movie. While the opening track, “Sirens,” is mostly just laying the foundation for what lies ahead, isn’t that what an intro is supposed to do?

The following 8-minute track, “Lowly Weep,” is of a similar atmosphere of the intro, which airy female vocals and a violin leading the way. It is raining heavily as I write this, so the track hits perfectly. There’s some guitar and triumphant, almost marching drums here as well, but the vocals are the clear star. We finally get what can be described as doom with some fuzzy guitars, bass, and symbol crashes over halfway through.

When it comes to standouts, the uneasy doom backbone of “Love’s Sudden Death” hits the spot. The minimalist approach to the drums makes this deceptively heavy. In fact, the sparse use of drums on a lot of the album has that impact. There’s a repeatable hook here, too in the chorus.

Along with the previously mentioned track, the closer “Fear Not, My King,” is another standout and employs some of the same tricks to an almost hypnotic degree. The interplay between the fuzzy guitars, ethereal vocals, minimalist drums, keys, and strings showcase Jayne’s compositional mastery without anything seeming forced or overwhelming. There’s space for all instruments, which also says something about the recording itself.

In short, this album is incredible and well worth your time. You’ll know based on references above if it’s for you. It’s 8 songs in 40 minutes, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome despite never really putting its foot on the gas, and I have a feeling it will appear on several year-end lists. If you’re into the dark(h)er side of what may or may not be considered metal, you won’t regret devoting your time to this. Even if you’re not, you may find a new favorite. I highly recommend The Buried Storm.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
May 4th, 2022

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