Duisternis Make Impressive Black Metal Debut With Unity Unto None

Musician, MetalTalk writer and photographer Chris Howell recently realised a lifelong vision with his solo Black Metal project Duisternis, meaning darkness in Dutch, releasing his debut EP about a month and a half ago.

Duisternis – Unity Unto None (Independent)

Release Date: Out Now 

Words: Jools Green

Based in Glasgow, UK, it is like many Black Metal greats before him, intended to be a studio project only. The beginnings of Duisternis began to surface in 2020 when he laid down around seven demo tracks, which he felt had potential. 

But Howell felt the time was not right for this project to fully emerge due to other musical and photographic commitments, so it was put aside temporarily. 

Duisternis - Unity Unto None out now
Duisternis – Unity Unto None out now

Fast forward to late 2023, when the time felt right for Chris to release these tracks. The demo was revised, and more pieces were created and tracks chosen. From this, the debut EP Unity Unto None was born. 

The aim is to deliver a sound that is not overly complex but very atmospheric with a strong Black Metal foundation, and the result, I think, is rather good. It definitely meets his remit. The thing I like the most is that it’s well-varied. It explores the concept of Black Metal from several different angles. 

The twenty-five-minute offering opens on the title track, the eerily atmospheric instrumental, Unity Unto None, with its exotic rhythms, capturing mental images of Tuareg campfires and other eastern exotica.

But don’t settle too comfortably as the final fifteen seconds take a raw, unnerving downturn with an abrupt ending, setting the scene perfectly for the next piece, Shedding Of Soul And Skin. The single, released as a precursor to the EP, is a superb piece, dark, atmospheric and ambient, delivering a meld of hissed vocal whispers.

With eerie keyboards over classically styled Black Metal riffs that cruise along hypnotically, when it drops away to just vocals and piano, it becomes even more engagingly unnerving, drawing you in. You even get a second-half blast of equally eerie leadwork. Overall, it is a nicely layered piece that holds your attention.

The next offering, Unto Resentment, is a crawling-paced plodder with an acidic vocal delivery set over haunting keyboards. This is a powerful piece that oozes dark vitriol and an unnerving atmosphere.

In contrast, Stillborn is intense and darkly driving from the offset, developing an undulating repeat alongside the acidic vocals. Punctuated with haunting swathes of dark keyboard work, this track seems to spiral gradually deeper into the darkness. Again, it is a piece that oozes atmosphere and unnerving intrigue.

The final and longest piece at over seven minutes, The Hollow Maker, is a smouldering builder. It’s dark and doomy with haunting keyboards for the first two minutes, then the acerbic, sinisterly protracted vocal delivery arrives, taking the sound to the next unnerving level. 

I really love the vocals on this piece. They are dramatic and superbly chill-inducing. You also get a sinister spoken element. Further in, the keyboards take on an eerie space-rock feel as well as adding a huge amount to the ever-increasing depth of sound, which then takes a gradual fade out in the last minute to just one high note. 

Unity Unto None was mastered by Dani D. Messmer, frontman for NuIndustrial Band Parrilla, who has done a great job. It’s often the case that if you get someone outside of a specific sub-genre to look at it with fresh ears, you get the best results. 

Unity Unto None is an impressive debut offering and I look forward to what the future may hold from this project.

Duisternis – Unity Unto None – is available to stream via Spotify or to buy as a digital download from Bandcamp.

Sleeve Notes

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