On August 25th, PERSONAL RECORDS is proud to present OF DARKNESS’ highly anticipated second album, Missa Tridentina, on CD format.
A cult band even among an already-cult scene, OF DARKNESS are an experimental funeral doom band hailing from Barcelona. While exuding the characteristic traits of the subgenre – sepulchral tones, glacial pace, suffocating atmosphere – the Spaniards look beyond mere metal for idiosyncratic deployment of other such musics as ambient, industrial, and especially classical. Intensely atmospheric and deeper than the abyss, their sound is the perfect landscape for the members’ extreme nihilistic beliefs. And although those members concurrently play in such distinguished bands as Teitanblood, Balmog, and Graveyard among many others, in thought and deed is OF DARKNESS entirely its own entity.
OF DARKNESS was born in 2003 and released their first demo, Death, a few months after. In 2004, the entities behind the band started working on a new work, The Empty Eye, which was released in 2005. Around that time, several labels showed interest in both records: Goatowarex Records and Xtreem Music. None of those deals came to a good end, so the band stayed on hold for a few years until Psychedelic Lotus Order (the new guise/ruse of infamous rip-off Goatowarex) and Black Mass Records decided to give a second chance to both records, re-releasing them on limited vinyl and CD in 2009/2010. In 2012, in conspiracy with Black Mass Records again, OF DARKNESS released Scorpiace, a split tape with legendary Galician drone / ambient / industrial act Like Drone Razors Through Flesh Sphere, which was re-released (including another very long track) later on CD by Gradual Hate Records in 2015. Perhaps most indicative of the band’s unique take on funeral doom was the release of Tribute to Krzysztof Penderecki – Passio et Mors Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Lucam. More or less their debut album, the 43-minute record indeed interpreted two compositions of modern classical master (and master of tension & terror) Penderecki, complete with a cover that mirrored those of Deutsche Grammaphone’s long-running line of classical records.
Fittingly for their cult nature, OF DARKNESS have never been an active band in a traditional way; it’s just an on/off project that appears every once in a while, so many people thought and still think the band is on hold or even inactive – which, in a way, is true. During the infamous lockdown, the trio decided to prepare new material, which was composed, recorded, arranged, and mixed in three days: as usual for OF DARKNESS since they never rehearse, and rather just improvise in the studio while recording. Nevertheless, what has emerged – the seven-song/43-minute Missa Tridentina – is a monumental album that sounds anything but improvised. Solemn and spacious, much like an ancient cathedral, OF DARKNESS’ second album slowly unfolds, each minute moving ominously but with portent, almost soothingly, as textures flicker with recognition but then fade away, and on and on and on again. The whole work is threaded together as one massive composition, and therein lies the genius of OF DARKNESS: taking far more cues from classical than funeral doom, one could view these separate movements as suites of a larger orchestral work, and indeed do they incorporate orchestration that arguably plays a great role than the usual metal-oriented instrumentation. At times, there’s a diabolical disconnect – and successive dissonance – between both elements, as if they’re each playing of their own accord; but then, like slowly undulating wisps of smoke, a certain sense of order arises, haunting and hypnotizing. It’s incredibly avant-garde without being belabored or overbearingly performative about it. It’s also unlike most “funeral doom” records past and especially present. OF DARKNESS challenge even the bravest listeners with Missa Tridentina.