I enjoyed 2020’s Cadence of the Cursed, so Darkness from Beyond is well-received. Now rounded out to a duo and featuring a couple of guests, this new album seems like more collaborative affair. It’s also a bit meatier, with ten tracks and 43 minutes of material to sink your teeth into.
Ice Howl’s personable blend of epic doom, heavy, and power metal continues to hit the spot quite nicely, although the latter two styles are much more to the fore of the music than they were on the band’s previous album.
The music is bright and powerful, and infectious as all Hell. The songs are well-crafted, with a strong, punchy sound and solid performances all-round. The vocals – the weakest link in so many bands of this sort – are well-performed. I like the vocalist’s voice as he strikes a good balance between clean emotive singing and a rougher, rawer style. He has a somewhat atypical delivery and sound, and this serves him very well. The guest singers, (from Mourn the Light and Lavaborne), also add value to the songs they appear on, (the former’s song War Is Here and the latter’s False Hope are both particular highlights of the record, albeit two of many).
This is galloping heavy metal with an epic streak a mile wide. The songwriting is tighter and more effective than I remember, and Darkness from Beyond is packed with tasty solos, colossal melodies, beefy riffs, and catchy vocals. It’s also not a fully old-school record, as much as that’s probably been implied so far; the music definitely has all of the classic elements, but it also has a modern edge that allows it to sound much more contemporary than many bands playing this style.
The new Ice Howl album has impressed me greatly. It’s an insanely infectious record and filled with earworms that just won’t stop. If you’re a fan of heavy/power metal with a voice of its own then you must check out Darkness from Beyond.
Very highly recommended.