Duskmourn describes themselves as wanting their music to take listeners to a “world of ancient tales and nature bound journeys.” If that is their true intention, then I say they have succeeded…and then some. I became an instant fan of these guys since I first heard their debut, Legends, back when it came out. I liked the album so much, in fact, that it was in regular rotation on all playlists and at home. I’m a huge fan of that folk inspired epic metal and since these guys remind me of Moonsorrow a bit then it’s only natural I would love this. But these guys make it seem so easy. Their new album, Of Shadow and Flame, is another fifty four minutes of beautiful blackened epic heathen folk metal . This album proves that these guys are the real deal. The only word for this is masterpiece.
One thing they did different this time around was the lack of instrumental interludes. That decision paid off in spades. They decided on just one instrumental as the intro this time around with the rest of the songs being epics that get longer as we get deeper into the album. And that leads me to the next decision they made with this album, the order of the songs and how each one is a bit longer than the one before it. “Through the Wild” is the first proper song and it’s the perfect opener setting the mood for the album. Mostly it’s mid tempo with a combination of nice crunchy riffs to seriously melodic tremolos and then there’s clean epic vocal choirs added to top it off. The song is just under six minutes and epic as fuck but it’s only the first part of the journey.
As we go further into the album the songs just get better and more epic. These guys have that ability to create huge songs that rely on both the guitars and keys to provide the atmosphere and melody. The vocals are stellar, just like the debut, and fit the music so naturally. They are a cross between a melodic death metal growl to a more blackened sound typical of this style. All of these things put together create this atmosphere where you can be taken away with the music and, being that is their intention, I think it drives them to take their songs to another level. “Mountains of Darkness” is the perfect example of the sheer perfection in their songs. This is my favorite on the album, hands down. This song hits every mark beginning with some cool blasting with some serious riffs to a more mid paced catchy riff that reminded me of Moonsorrow with the keys behind adding layers of atmosphere and melody. The song is huge, epic, and perfect. We’re at the eight and a half plus minute mark here with the song lengths as well.
This incredible duo is comprised of Walter Deyo who provides the bass, guitars and vocals, and Bill Sharpe who provides drums, guitars, clean vocal choirs and the keyboards. As for composition, all of the songs on this album were composed by Mr. Sharpe with the exception of the Deyo composed “Crowned in Flame.” Mr. Deyo also provides all of the lyrics. Together they create magical forests and mythical landscapes with their incredible music. The album flows from one song to the next majestically and never tires nor ceases to be anything other than incredible. This amazing journey ends with “The Last Voyage” clocking in at fourteen and a half minutes. The melodies are so infectious that you get goosebumps. Great riffs with melodic leads over top the clean choirs come in and add that the epic moment. The acoustic, folk inspired interlude with the mouth harp and layers of acoustic guitars and clean chants leads right into this huge epic crescendo that eventually fades into the last few minutes ending the journey with sounds of the sea; gulls, waves, etc.
I truly love this style of metal and finding a band that does it so flawlessly and effortlessly is like hitting the metal lottery. Creating epic landscapes through music is what they do and they do it with perfection. This is the epitome of the perfect album.