Mysteries of Left Path


DOWNCROSS is a black metal band from Belarus that has concocted an infectious and affecting eight-track […]
By Sean McGuirk
April 19, 2019

DOWNCROSS is a black metal band from Belarus that has concocted an infectious and affecting eight-track debut full-length entitled "Mysteries of Left Path."  The band plays with both dark and light on the album, often simultaneously, to great effect.  Whereas the form is irrefutably Black Metal, there are melodic underpinnings based in disparate places, from hard rock-and-roll to shoegaze.  Belarus isn't famous for their metal scene, as far as worldwide breakouts are concerned, but DOWNCROSS lays down the gauntlet (or gauntlets) here with a well-manicured selection of raw, emotional Black Metal that could compete among the year's best when all is said and done.

On the opener, "Where Illusions Sink In Accausal Fire," you're immediately blanketed in a kind of misty EMPEROR-like supernatural haze, while the song itself is structured in a very palatable melodic framework with clear chord resolutions.  The product is heavy and sufficiently brutal, while still ringing with emotion.  "Baning The Energies Of Creation," kicks off with a muscled charge that reveals a MOTÖRHEAD-esque proto-Black Metal side.  Drummer and vocalist Dzmtr nails the kit and the attitude, with a mid-range rasp that sounds like the zombie of Lemmy rose from the grave looking for Pall Mall's and Jack and Coke.  The guitars, from Ldzmr, have a vibrant tone, with ample use of suspended chords that create an almost Post-Metal vibe.  "Black Flame Of Reason And Will" starts like a ballad, before the duo blasts off yet again into hyperspace.  The track is notable for a brief unexpected major-key turn in its chorus that again puts it into accessible territory before slipping back out.

While the album contains this kind of variation, there is still a strict adherence and reverence to the genre that will have any fan saluting.  One of my favorite tracks on the album,"Into The Formless Darkness Transforming" is quite literally a death march, with a traditional A/B/A structure that underlines a feeling of doom.  Given the band's Eastern European home, perhaps it's not a stretch to assume they feel at home in this kind of grandiose military beat.  "In The Name Of The Ruthless Azerate" swells with speed and demonic zest, while "The Skies Of Stars Will Turn Into Nothing" is a nature walk in a dark forest, recalling folk Black Metal pioneer acts like WINDIR and AGALLOCH. After the world disappears, "In The Depth of Masak Mavdil" starts with a pinhole of light before expanding into a lush and beautifully melodic tale of gloom. All the colors of their palette shine with a vibrant melancholy in the finale, just before it fades to black.

It's a moment you wish they would carry out even further, and one that shows that these guys, in the mere infancy of this project (they play their first live show in June in Lithuania), have a command for restraint, and an artful attention to their craft that signals many good-and-evil things to come.<

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"Mysteries of Left Path" Track-listing:

1. Where Illusions Sink In Accausal Fire
2. Baning The Energies Of Creation
3. Reviving The Ancient Darkness
4. Black Flame Of Reason And Will
5. Into The Formless Darkness Transforming
6. In The Name Of The Ruthless Azerate
7. The Skies Of Stars Will Turn Into Nothing
8. In The Depth Of Masak Mavdil

Downcross Lineup:

Dzmtr - Drums, Vocals
Ldzmr - Guitars

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