Darkher – Realms album review

Pastoral portents from beyond the dark side of folk, with Darkher's new album. Read our review here...

Darkher, 'Realms' album cover

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Enigmatic, Yorkshire-based songwriter Jayn Wissenberg’s folk roots branched out into more ominous pastures when that tag felt limiting; she never quite made the transition into metal per se, but certainly inherited some of its qualities.

Dismissing binary attempts at classification, Darkher poses instead more nourishing questions of sombre, spiritual resonance. Still carrying many of folk’s haunting traits, she harnesses a pastoral clarity on her debut full-length to evoke elemental forces.

Building upon foundations laid on 2014’s Kingdom Field, Realms takes the grim portents stirring at that EP’s edges and moves them into focus, creating contrasting moments of airy reflection shattered by resonant doom. The sonorous pound of Hollow Veil is an emotionally tremulous introduction that bleeds into the imploring acoustics of Moths, Jayn’s voice a soulful, haunting beacon throughout, its initial fragility deceptive, much like other elements of a record that reveals ever more elusive, and as on Buried, parts 1 and 2, explosive depths. A frustrated search for escape, undercurrents of strings and shimmering atmospherics complement Realms’ emotional complexity, a gateway to Darkher’s place of retreat, a verdant forest within which lurks an elusively intimidating power; that eerie sensation that something is watching from just outside your realm of perception.