About the album CLOSURE (2014)

Review at Crucial Blast

Album number three from this Bulgarian blackened doom duo further descends through the band's strikingly gorgeous symphonic heaviness, which for some reason continues to be overlooked by most in the metal underground. I just don't get it - Darkflight's previous 2008 album Perfectly Calm was one of the most massive, moving doom epics I've picked up in recent years, combining vast, exquisitely crafted melodies imbued with an almost cinematic scope, awash in swells of aural heartache and laced with progressive tendencies that were way more refined than most bands in the field. Not to mention, some of the heaviest doom ever. And this new one treads similar ground, radiating with that same sad, sumptuous sense of grandeur, the crushing slow-motion doomscape interwoven with wistful melodies and gorgeous bleary-eyed hooks that most shoegazer bands would hack an arm off for; there are moments on Closure that feel as though they could have been lifted right off of an Envy album, even.
    True, the production is a little murkier and more low-fi this time around, but it still works for me, those sweeping orchestral elements (an array of synthesized strings, horns and woodwinds) that wash across the opening track "Worse Things Than Dying" becoming subsumed into the dense roiling heaviness, slow, ponderous drumming shifting into more frenetic rhythms as the duo builds into their dramatic eruptions. Multiple lead guitars are layered and intertwined throughout their songs, curling around the surging synths that swell into sweetly despondent orchestral pop over that crushing deathdoom, and more than once these captivating melancholic melodies come close to evoking some monstrous, blackened, deathdoom version of an Agalloch or Alcest. Scathing distant screams stretch far across the byzantium glow of the horizon, occasionally replaced with a gloomy half-spoken delivery that brings a heavy gothic feel to those moments, and violins and woodwinds, piano and acoustic guitars bloom into mournful gorgeous laments, joined by beautiful sorrowful guitar harmonies rising over the thunderous slow-mo crush. The eight songs coalesce into an overwhelmingly emotional blast of doleful doom-laden atmosphere, stunning orchestral gloompop fused to a monstrous monolithic doom-laden power that eventually makes its way to the gorgeous symphonic instrumental prog of the closing song "Limbo (Alive And Well)". Really, folks, give this stuff a listen.   Adam © CRUCIAL BLAST 

Review at Vibrations Of Doom

And here we are, 11 years after their first full length release, and SIX YEARS after we reviewed their second masterpiece "Perfectly Calm." Folks, it seems like Ivo has not even started to run out of ideas, this being another fantastic emotionally soaring piece of work. The guitar work is superb, the lead solos are crafted with emotion and precision, and the vocals are some of the most twisted, icy and tortured yet... Dark, doomy and ominous is how the opener 'Worse Things Than Dying' starts out, and it just gets better. Great symphonics and thunderous percussion all adds to the bombastic elements on display, and I even heard some flute notes in here! Beautiful but sad is how the title track starts out; a fitting song and one of my favorites on the record. You can definitely hear the pain behind those blackened screams. And of course some of the most moving guitar work occurs towards the end of this cut. 'Contemplating Suicide,' worth every second of the 10+ minutes here, one of three songs that crosses the 10 minute threshold. I must say this CD drops a few points off at track 4, 'Cognitive Dissonance,' with the start/stop synthesized notes starting off this song; trumpet like notes that reminds me strongly of Dimmu Borgir on some of their most popular tunes. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no hater of modern day Dimmu, but this didn't sound like Darkflight much, and it takes a full minute and a half before the ship rights itself. Once it does, it still retains that doom metal vibe and of course the ancient sounding, icy vocal work NEVER stops. At 11:33, 'Day In, Day Out' turns into the longest track on the disc, and probably crafts the most amazing amount of brilliant lead guitar work (hell, I bet this track alone took a few years to materialize!) on the disc! There's a lot of rain and storm sounds ending some of the tracks, and here is no exception. And wow, a track that clocks in at a mere 3:45? Yep, it's 'Monument Of Sadness,' and it's NOT an instrumental! Beautiful synths and piano notations at the start of this make you think it's going to be an instrumental, but once the vocals kick in, all doubt is relinquished. Crunchy guitars are found on hand on the previous cut 'It Wasn't Meant To Be,' and CD ender 'Limbo' IS the lone instrumental. Though some might question a 6:23 instrumental song, it keeps MY interest until the very end with melodic and beautiful synth passages (ambient landscapes almost), mixed with pianos and acoustic guitar work. It's not one for the heaviness column, but you could tell his tracks lead the album towards a melodic ending, as if to give a fitting bit of "closure." Folks, I don't see much else in black metal (as of this writing) that would leave Darkflight in the dust; I daresay (especially after Agalloch's 2014 album seemingly more experimental and not as mind blowing as past works) this will be THE black metal album of 2014... Ivo continues to astound and amaze... Stephen Cannon

Review at Sputnik Music

Creating an experience that both tells a story and at the same time lets your mind wander, summoning a specific set of emotions that are rendered mostly inexplicable when one seeks words to describe them sounds nearly impossible. But that's exactly what Darkflight has done. This is the album the band has been working themselves up to since they started out, making its title all the more appropriate.

Closure starts off with a slow motion explosion of atmospheric synth, gritty, downtuned angry guitar, and even angrier screams. You feel shoved backward, then overwhelmed by the breadth of instrumentation, but its all pulled back in time to let you take it in (or try to) before another wave comes, bigger than the last. Worse Things Than Dying builds, retreats, back-builds, and retreats again, and then before you find what you're feeling, its on to the next track.

Dual guitars are layered in such a way that it often sounds like they are echoes of each other, but there are almost always two distinct melodies to listen for at any given time. Orchestral elements are present throughout, and occasionally feature; their main purpose however is to act as a catalyst, bringing scope and presence to the core instruments rather than seeking to overtake them. The vocals are perfectly interspersed, breaking up the spiraling rhythm of riffage and rumbling drums akin to a swimmer in a desperate race to shore, turning his head for those crucial breaths. The bass is simple and steady, a nearly smothered but still perceptible guide that often allows streches of songs that seem to be panning out too far to stay afloat. Combined with soft, uncomplicated touches of piano and atmospherics that range from synth swells to crows cawing and rain battering a dilapidated shelter, its all almost too much.

And yet the length of the songs combined with an overall slow pace, and softer quieter sections that are positioned just where they need to be and that leap back into those powerful dueling melodies capture your attention over and over. Sparse bits of spoken word break up the tortured cries and an occasional bassline feature form a seemingly complete picture that is still and always hiding something you can't quite put your finger on. By the time Monument of Sadness hurls you into a burning bright light only hinted at before, you realize that there is more content, both in the song structures and in the emotional content of each track, and the album as a whole, than you could ever grasp with just a few playtroughs.

This is something meant to be explored many times and appreciated on many levels, for reasons limited only by your imagination. Whether or not this transcends genres, or destroys conventions can be left for the purists to decide. You could argue that the spoken word is in poor taste, or that some of the synthesized elements are overdone, but that's nitpicking at imperfections in the presentation of the dish rather than just taking a bite with your eyes closed and focusing on the depressing, delectable symphony of flavors Darkflight has concocted. Every time you listen, your experience will change and it is this inherent adaptation to your surroundings and your mood that makes this album a unique and demanding trek across musical landscapes you swear you've traversed before but find yourself lost in, and blissfully so.
by  PortalofPerfection 5/5

Review at Lords Of Metal

Sometimes you come by a release that is difficult to categorize due to all the different influences, this is such a release. Black, doom, rock and that is not the end of the list. Musically they continue what they started on their earlier albums ‘Under The Shadow Of Fear’ and ‘Perfectly Calm’ but they did make a move towards a more depressing ambiance, there is absolutely nothing joyful on this album. It reminds of Drudkh and Agalloch but a bit calmer. The pace is dragging forth, the melodies and vocals that sound like they come from far have an iron grip on the listener. This album has a lot of variation and does not bore a single moment, it grabs you at the start only to let go after about an hour with a completely symphonic ending. Excellent album!

Johan Z 82/100