My Darkest Time is an atmospheric band that blends gothic and doom together. ‘The Last’ is the fourth outing by the band. The band is made up of the duo of founding member and main writer Zarko Atanasov and Marina Atanasova.
To put a foundation down, My Darkest Time has been around for quite some time, debuting with their first album, ‘End Of My Darkest Time’ in 2008. The band has had pretty much a linear growth over the years, and to a degree, ‘The Last’ broadens their footprint of growth, adding a little more depth and colour over previous releases.
This Macedonian band is pretty much your run of the mill atmospheric gothic doom band to put it bluntly. It has an almost deliberate slowness of pace to it, and even though it does have some ggreat touches of piano and orchestral symphonic parts in it, it does not blow me away. It does not capture me and carry me away, which I feel is an important characteristic in music if ones to truly appreciate what the band is doing. Even some amazing solo work from Torbjörn Weinesjö (“Ephrath”) still does not give the album a wow factor. It’s not that I don’t like this kind of music, I love gothic and doom, and allot of my vast musical collection is filled with quite a few gothic and doom bands, I think it my lie in that I feel Marina’s vocals are not extra-ordinary for this genre, and I feel it brings down the instrumental side of the album a bit, which is actually at times quite strong and emotional, where her vocals don’t seem to carry the strength that’s actually needed to marry vocals with instruments.
The positives of the album are certainly the guest musicianship of Torbjörn Weinesjö (solo guitar) on “Ephrath” and Sime Stefkovski (piano) on “O Beloved”. I think if you are a fan of bands like My Dying Bride you might enjoy this album. I do think the album could do with a better production to it that can be down to preference but in the production alone I think this album could be so much better. What I do really like is the folkish element that hovers in the songs; it would be great to see more of that come through in future endeavours by the band. There are some great musical moments in the album, and its solidified with a haunting movement of atmosphere that plays into the doomish characteristic of the album as a whole. One of the more stand out songs musically is “The Gates” , but I find it let down by Marina’s vocals, it is like it lacks or runs out of oomph at times, and I found on some of the other songs it disturbed the overall atmosphere of that the music lays down, which at times is pretty darn good.
The musical strength of My Darkest Time is highlighted in the instrumental, “Written Names”, and with due respect to Marina’s vocal ability, “Written Names”, shows how capable composer Zarko really is.
Personal side note, I think this genre limits Zarko’s musical ability and proficiency.
To wrap it all up My Darkest Time brings atmospheric gothic music blended in with doom elements to the playing field. Sadly even though this album has pieces of greatness scattered throughout, it’s not brought together effectively through production and the vocal addition. Almost comes across demo-ish, and it dulls those moments where you sit up and go wow that’s actually really good.
Unfortunately production is everything into days standards of music, and because of a large base of bands available to listen too out in the big world, this album does not deliver as it should, and certainly not their best works to date either, and I know I am pushing the point, and I am not here to offend the band, but many more time needs to be spent on the production, because truthfully there is actually a good album hiding somewhere inside this release, but its brought down by its production quality.
Yet when all said and done I would still say give it a listen, especially those who love female fronted orchestral gothic bands. This might not be my cup of tea, but it might be yours.
Written by Donovan de Necker
01. Last (intro)
02. The Gates
03. Ephrath (ft. Torbjörn Weinesjö)
05. Blurred Truths
07. Written Names (instrumental)
09. O Beloved (ft. Sime Stefkovski)
Zarko – music, lyrics, vocal
Marina – vocals, vocal arrangement
Torbjörn Weinesjö (Veni Domine) solo guitars on “Ephrath”
Sime Stefkovski Piano on “O Beloved”
“End of My Darkest Time” (2008)
“My Thoughts” (2010)
“The Last” (2016)
Record Label: Inverse Records (Finland), Aug. 2016
Video below: “The Last” (Album Teaser)
Video for: ‘The Gates’
Video for: ‘Blurred Truths’