CD REVIEW   Towards Darkness

Band : Towards Darkness
Album title : Barren
Label : Avantgarde Music
Distribution : /
Release date : 23/03/2012
Release : CD

In 2001, singer/ bassist Kevin Jones (also known from Negative, Seized, and as of 2010, of Show Of Bedlam) guitarist Joël Cyr and drummer Nick Richards (also of Show Of Bedlam) founded the Montréal, Québec (Canada) based Funeral Doom Metal act The Mass, releasing their debut album Towards Darkness in 2004 on the GWN Records imprint. However, because a band from California claimed prevalence on The Mass as bandname, the Canadian trio was forced to change theirs, and chose Towards Darkness as their new monicker.

Having recruited keyboardist Simon C. (for Carignan) Bouchard (formerly of Esker and then still also playing with Venificium) in order to expand the band's sound, the quartet signed to Twilight Foundation, which would release the Solemn album in December 2007. Thanks to the many plays of their videos on the YouTube platform, and backed by the album, the band's name soon spread throughout the scene. The band members then apparently took out time for other projects, Carignan playing rhythm guitar and providing sound effects to Longing For Dawn's 3rd album Between Elation And Despair (released through Grau, review by colleague Ivan posted 13/04/2009),   Following a new addition to the line-up with second guitarist Sam Dufour formerly of Absolve on bass – and Vengeful, he'd been a live member of Torn Within as well), the now-quintet started work on Barren, with a confirmed release through Italian label Avangarde Music already confirmed.

The 4 songs on Barren all being of considerable length (total of 55 ½ minutes listening time) allows the quintet to alternate heavier parts with calmer ones (or rather, less distorted ones). What with the atmospherically drawn-out keyboards and slow drumming on top, one nevertheless occasionally gets a Sludge feel in the heavier parts, as Jones uses a slow-paced screamed growl. In essence, this band's music is not for those readers whom expect to find melodies packed in 3-4 minute songs, but rather something for those whom either love to wallow in their miseries...or simply have a broader taste for music which stems from having ventured into several styles. Trivia about this album: guitarist Steeve Hurdle (known from Negativa and its precursor Gorguts) plays 12-string acoustic guitar on the track “Avenues Of Mutilations” (that actually having been recorded over a year ago).

Music off the new album has to be found in the sole “The Arrival” being posted at (www.) It is, however, almost 10 minutes in length, and posted alongside three older tracks (all those songs can also be found on the band's facebook, by the way), and a rough version of the song “Self Sestruct” (one of two to be found on the limited edition EP Empire (that also being the other track) offered with the limited edition of the album. I'm definitely trying to get myself a copy of that one, I tell you! Meaning Barren is another addition to my 2012 year-lists, of course!!!