Spanish metal quintet Dark Embrace enfold all things heavy and dark, Dark Heavy Metal, its third album. The tongue-in-cheek album title is also appropriate as Dark Embrace churn out nearly 40 minutes of gothic tinged death metal. The title track opens the record with a Judas Priest-esque riff that is joined with driving drums and the raspy shrieks of vocalist Oscar Rilo. This track is somewhat flat with the slowed down midsection and guitar leads as its highlights.
“Never Seen The Sun” is another fast tempo track with an ominous riff and brief piano interludes. It is the better track with its driving pace, string samples and sorrowful chorus. “Personal Hell” features a menacing groove with guitarists Mou Trashno and Markos Villar shredding like imps dancing in fire. Things slow down on Endless Months which commences with an arabesque melody on an organ before that fades out as the guitar comes in. The swaying melody and guitar work make this track standout on the record. “Metal Is Religion” is a tribute to the genre of heavy metal with its galloping riff interspersed with classical piano and classical guitar. This track balances between bombastic and subdued to stellar effect.
“The Is The Rain” is a slight departure from the previous tracks with its clean vocals, piano and mid-tempo. However, the song is not out of place, particularly with its rocking second half. “Bitter End MMXXII” concludes the album in high fashion. The whole band shines here with amazing drum fills, scooping riffs and tempo changes. There is nothing bitter about this song.
Dark Heavy Metal starts weak but improves with each track. The album is versatile and one can hear bits of Judas Priest, Paradise Lost, Amorphis and even Depeche Mode. The sore spot on this album is the band falls in to parody at times. The vocals are too over the top at times which ruins the dark, foreboding moments on the record. The musicianship is top notch and the band get the job done in less than 40 minutes.
Dark Heavy Metal will appease fans of symphonic, goth and melodic death metal. It does not have the epic scope of albums in the aforementioned sub-genres, which is not bad at all. The songwriting and musical versatility make this an enjoyable listen.
Check out the band’s official website here: https://www.darkembrace.net/