It’s very common that people find comfort in darkness, and I am no exception. But this is also close-knit to (one of) my problem(s): I’m a sucker for any kind of music labeled as dark, gothic, ambient and possibly female fronted. And even though there aren’t many bands in this genre that actually deliver quality material, I can’t help it, I’m still willing to listen to everything I’m able to get my hands on. So it is no surprise that I had to sit down and give “Realms” by Darkher a good listen.
Darkher is a project by Jayn H. Wissenberg, a singer-songwriter from the UK. The project is described as an “intriguing, haunting trip” through the artist’s mind, and I haven’t read one negative review of her latest album “Realms”. “This is too good to be true”, I thought, and to make it short, it is. While everyone in gothic/dark rock circles seems to be treating this album like the next big hit, I’m at my fifth or sixth listen and I still don’t get it. Sorry (not sorry).
“Realms” is a 45-minute ambient record with gothic and acoustic elements. Jayn’s voice is of course very prominent on this album and it does sound very beautiful, there’s no denying in that. But as always, one shouldn’t always believe what people write on the internet. Jayn’s voice is not mesmerizing, nor is it a gate to the world of the dead.
From the nine songs on this album, I can only recall two from the beginning of the record: “Hollow Veil” and “Moths”. Both are very slow and gloomy tracks with truly haunting melodies. The other tracks sound very simple throughout. And even with only a couple of instruments, there are countless possibilities to write more diverse and interesting songs than what is presented here. Great songwriting and dynamics can be found on other records from other bands. It’s as simple as that. If there’s anything that “Realms” (besides two nice songs) will do for the listener, it’s probably putting him to sleep.
There has to be some kind of weird sorcery involved in this record that simply won’t wash with me. This is the only explanation I can think of. But let’s see if “Realms” will put me to sleep tonight. If yes, then I will have found at least one purpose to this record. Finally, “Realms” definitely proves one thing: A beautiful voice is not enough to make a great record. I wish it was.
- Spirit Walker
- Hollow Veil
- The Dawn Brings A Saviour
- Buried Pt. 1
- Buried Pt. 2