Review: Dark Quarterer - Ithaca (Metal On Metal 2015 CD)

 After releasing new albums by classic bands such as Attacker, Heretic and Outrage, the latest old legends to be added to Metal on Metal's rooster is none less than the mighty Dark Quarterer. I must admit that I'm not really familiar with their post 2000-releases, but the first three albums are nothing but phenomenal stuff. Without any exaggeration whatsoever, their self titled debut album is one of the best epic metal albums ever made, up there with Into Glory Ride, King Of The Dead, Crystal Logic etc. So, as you might be able to tell, my expectations for Ithaca were definitely set very high.

 It starts off well with the grandiose and bombastic opener The Path Of Life. It's clear that they've managed to re-invent their sound in a great way, particularly because of the addition of keyboards in their lineup. They are used both as more modern sounding synthesizers to create an epic mood, as well as classic organs and regular piano, which gives a touch of the 70's in songs like Escape and the closing Last Fight. Compared to those quite up tempo and almost cheerful songs, there couldn't be a larger contrast to tracks like the pitch black doom monstrosity Mind Torture, or the fateful semi-ballad Nostalgia, which brings my thoughts to the stunning The Entity from their first album. It's just incredible what a diverse album they have delivered.

 The only track that I think is a bit weaker is Rage Of Gods. Sure, it definitely has an epic atmosphere, but I it's a bit too repetitive, and the different parts of it doesn't really flow together so well. And to be honest, a ten minutes long track by this band with that title made me expect something in league with Collosus Of Argil, which Rage Of Gods unfortunately is quite far away from. But a song that in fact met those expectations, and by far is my personal favorite from this album, is Night Song. This song just has it all. I never would have expected them to be able to match the immortal classics from their early days, but I'd actually say that this is one of their five best songs ever, as well as the best song I've heard so far from this year. The definite highlight of this surprisingly qualitative album, which in turn goes right into the list of the 2015 highlights so far. 8,5/10

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