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The Dark and Bleak – Delineate

The Dark and Bleak
by Julius “Dreadheart” Mikkelä at 04 November 2014, 9:41 PM

Getting a bunch of people together to make quality music is, as probably every band and musician in the world could tell you, not easy and takes a lot of effort. But what’s arguably even harder is to do the same thing - all alone - and reach the same level of quality, because solo projects have a notorious tendency to bring out the weak parts of a musician that otherwise gets refined in a band. However there a few “one man armies” out there than manage just fine on their own, and Jonathyn Arthur’s THE DARK AND BLEAK appears to be becoming one of those.

The project was born in the mid-2000 when Jonathyn was still a teen, and eventually grew into THE DARK AND BLEAK’s 2013 debut album “Rebirth”; a somewhat unrefined yet functional Blackened Death Metal album in its own right, but for the 2014 follow-up “Delineate” (which so fittingly means “to describe or portray (something) precisely.”) things have taken a distinct turn for the better on just about every front.

The production’s up, the songs are better and more interesting, the sound has been overhauled (I don’t think I’ve ever used that word to describe music before) and there’s not just one but two entire new dimensions to the beefed up Blackened Death Metal music with some serious Symphonic and Progressive elements incorporated into it. It now sounds like a pretty awesome mix between FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE and TYPE O NEGATIVE, and how could that ever be a bad thing?

But among those points I really think the most important improvement over “Rebirth” is the songs: They’re so varied and dynamic that they all feel a little unique, and that’s an ever so important aspect of music that sadly many Metal artists overlook. But on “Delineate” THE DARK AND BLEAK shows he’s more than capable of writing the kind of songs that sticks, and in my book there’s no single more important trait to have as an artist.

Now for all the praise I give this album, there’s still much room for improvement. The production, while generally fine, could be better at times, and although the combination of Symphonic and Blackened Death is really good, at times it lacks that focus that for example FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE has nailed and buried. But apart from this, THE DARK AND BLEAK’s “Delineate” is a pretty damn good album, and I can flat-out recommend it to anyone in the Blackened or Symphonic Death Metal sphere.

4 Star Rating

1. Voice of Desire
2. Shards of a Once Glorious Statue
3. Gemoancy
4. Obscurity
5. Of prismatic Illustration
6. Opacification
7. Disseminated Through Crystal
8. Monochrome
9. Mirror Stained Black
10. An Ephemeral Reckoning
Jonathyn Arthurs - Everything
Record Label: Independent


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