After releasing a couple of EP's in the late 2000's, Darkest Era's full-length debut for Metal Blade Records was released in February, 2011. The Last Caress of Light, though not without its faults, is a generally stunning debut from these young Irish lads. The musicianship is excellent across the board, the compositions are memorable, and Darkest Era also has a distinct knack for creating epic soundscapes without relying too heavily on modern technology. People who enjoy Celtic metal that lies more towards the "metal" end of the spectrum should definitely check out The Last Caress of Light.
The music on The Last Caress of Light is a mix of traditional heavy metal and folk metal. Darkest Era just scream "UK" in so many ways... the folky tendencies hint towards the Irish Celtic-metal scene, and NWoBHM influences certainly aren't forgotten about either. I've often heard Darkest Era compared to Primordial (and even considered a clone band by some), and I think that's a good comparison. The Last Caress of Light isn't the most shockingly original album out there, but the level of quality is high enough to forget about how Darkest Era "wears their influences on their sleeves". The music is generally pretty raw - the production is pretty bare-bones (though still very professional), the instrumentation isn't very varied, and the raw vocal delivery of Dwayne "Krum" Maguire is pure bliss. All three of these things may be detrimental to some, but for me it's great to hear that this band is capable of making quality folk metal without relying too heavily on modern amenities.
The Last Caress of Light isn't an album that will completely "knock your socks off" so to speak, but it has enough going for it to warrant attention from the folk metal community. If you like your Celtic metal to be hard-hitting, intense, and filled with terrific vocals, Darkest Era is a band to keep your eye on! This strong debut is worth 3.5 stars from this reviewer. Fans of Primordial, NWoBHM, and folk metal in general should take a look in this direction.
1. The Morrigan
2. An Ancient Fire Burns
3. Beneath The Frozen Sky
4. Heathen Burial
5. Visions of the Dawn
6. To Face The Black Tide
7. Poem To The Gael
8. The Last Caress Of Light Before The Dark