About the album UNDER THE SHADOW OF FEAR (2003)

Review at Aernitas Tenebrarum

This come as a surprise, a sort of solo project from Bulgary playing a very emotive and deep kind of a dark epic symphony played with skillfully choices on the keyboards parts and sound. This can be the appropriate soundscape for the Lord of The Ring legend or something related to the most apocalyptic and threatening side of fantasy culture. Summoning surely rule on this way but this project is in my ear more somber and with less solar moments. Darkflight is more a trip to valleys, ruins, forgotten places left to tell their stories. The good quality of this cool offer is something I can't ignore, the right music to see the things from another perspective of this one of the ordinary days, like an eagle, this can be like searching for our inner self, in solitude, in consciousness or in perdition. The negative mood is the dominant one, like a decadent hymn, the quality is always very high and there are very few moments where the tension fall apart. The female vocals are very mystic but in some moments they aren't so well fused inside the overall vision. Apart from that this non-metal release is something appreciable.

Review at Exclaim!

Although it starts off much like a doom metal soundtrack for Dr. Who, Darkflight's Under the Shadow of Fear is more fantasy than sci-fi. Songs drenched in many-textured synth orchestrations evoke a new age kind of feel, but gloomy, laden with fear and threat. Obviously the mood and title go hand in hand. Darkflight is a one-man project, except for a guest female vocalist. That, and its slow, slow pace may account for the album's barrenness, Darkflight's sound is big and ominous, but in its own way, simplistic as well. The overwhelming extent of keyboard use on the CD might be a bit suffocating for some, but devotees of the genre should appreciate Darkflight's brooding charm and careful craftsmanship. Of special mention: the track "A Call for the Dragons".
Laura Taylor

Review at Metal Nightmare

Black metal with no guitars that I can hear, only keyboards. Still comes across as being very dark and brooding though. It actually works, despite being all synth driven. I guess this is one of the few bands doing that kind of thing right. Everyone else, take notes!

Review at BABYLON

I don't have much to say about this band indeed, the attached biography to the promo is long 2 lines and it just tells the kind of music the band plays (epic fantasy metal with high gothic grandeur, symphonic orchestration, black metal frosts, heroic doom and ethereal splendour) and their origin (Bulgaria). Other than that, on their past i don't know, i can instead say that in practice that's one man project that answers to the name of Ivo Iliev, accompanied here and there with the female voice of Tatyana Teneva. To speak honestly, this disc is not at all bad, and i think that's a good mix between the more atmospheric Mortiis, the gothic, epic metal of nordic kind (to mention Falkenbach and Bathory) and symphonic black metal. Surely nothing new under the sun, but in spite of all done good and with zeal... Also the very beautiful voice of Tatyana gives warmth and sensuality. Amazing is the artwork, created by the master of fantasy arts Christophe Vacher. I don't have nothing else to add.
Riccardo Maffiodo

Review at Mindview

Darkflight is real gothic from Bulgaria. Not just a record that disapears in the mass. No, Darkflight really tries to stick their head above the rest and they do so very well. Now and then, you can compare their style with bands as The Sins of Thy Beloved, although i still find them a little better. The music style goes in the direction of Nightwish, though not as bombastic as they are. The voice is uncomparable. The Darkflight female singer sounds childish, fragile and now and then a little bit out of tune. Although this maybe could give it a little extra.
Sofie Vandenbriele
Gold 6/7

Review at Vibrations Of Doom Magazine

I really dig this band. Apparently a one man project from Bulgaria, this is some VERY well crafted, um, dare I say black metal??? Well, the vocal work of Ivo is absolutely sick!! And you all know how I love my black metal, utterly sick and devoid of that "human" sound... Hee hee... Anyway, yes, the blackened vocals are quite harsh but it's the music that grabs you! Virtually absent are the guitars on this release, well, at first anyway. I've listened to this about 9 or 10 times and the guitars are THERE, but some of the heavier guitars are so processed they almost don't sound real. Ivo also utilizes some acoustic guitars, but the synths are the main instrument here. And what sounds like a drum machine, as it reminds me of the electronic drums Ground:Xero uses. All that aside, the songs do have a melancholic, epic and melodic feel to them, and the tempo of the tracks is usually quite slow, though not doom metal oriented. 'Moonlight Battle,' 'Black Spirit,' 'Under The Shadow Of Fear...' Quite fantasy oriented lyrics do abound. The lone ballad here 'To Die In Your Arms...' well, I usually shun the ballad, but this has such emotional instrumentation on it, it's absolutely amazing! It will take your soul to depths you never knew existed! Oh, and did I mention there's a female vocalist? She turns up on many tracks, but is never overused, and sounds wonderful. 'A Call For The Dragons' had some nice medieval styled trumpets to go along with the majestic and slower synths. 'Occult Rituals' had a rather dark atmosphere, and some haunting synths as well. I do have to say I thought some of the instrumentation on the ending track 'Alone Somewhere Beyond' could have been constructed a little better, but if you're a black metal purist you're going to avoid this anyway. It's amazing just how brutal and sick the vocals can be while adding mood, atmosphere, and melancholic yet serene atmosphere, and the instrumentation on this record paints the biggest and most amazing pictures you'll hear in music. A must have.
Steven Cannon

Review at Metallian

Darkflight is one man band, consisting of writer musician Ivo Iliev, who composed and performed the whole concept of "Under The Shadow Of Fear" album. The composer who comes from Bulgaria will lead you into the catacombs of original epic dark metal, telling you a stories and fiction adventures about magic, rituals, beasts and battle. Black metal passages, symphonic orchestrations, doom melancholy and gothic moods are battling the struggle for the listener's spiritual travel. Although there's some weaknesses (the repeating drum beats) this composer, coming from the east achieved his primal aim - summoning dark images into the listener's mind.
Laurent Michelland

Review at Silent Stream

Darkflight is the solo project of the bulgarian Ivo Iliev, that conceived a majestic opera and released it with the single help from Tatyana Teneva as far as the female vocals are concerned. It's not easy to describe the music of this band, continuously in search for dreamy and atmospherical solutions, that builds his own compositions on a very strong doom basement, and then on very dilated round riffs and on a dry rhythmical section, and spice that all with the work of keyboards, that are engaged in creating the sound structures and to give all the compositions a strong sad atmosphere, full of pain, almost desperate. Maybe the best paragons for this work should be chosen within the dark scene, bands that make of orchestrations one of the characteristics of their sound, and I'm thinking of truly emotional acts like Empyrium. But that's just half fitting, because the black metal roots (expecially in the use of vocals) they use allow to put it close to examples of primal and experimental black metal: "The Eclipse of Life" is an explanatory song in this sense, as built as it is on a sort of apocalyptic dark folk like the early Abruptum or the huge Void of Silence. "Under the Shadow of Fear" is a truly out of the schemes offer, based on truly emotional and a-musical orchestrations, that owns some disrupting charm and inner strenght. A compelled purchase this year, to listen to in darkness.
Giorgio Fogliata

Review at Terrorizer

An interesting little album this. Known for their non-conformist signing policy, ROA have again turned up something a little bit different which, although roughly hewn, has much to recommend it. Darkflight is a one-man operation (warning bells are being sounded now i can hear...) and although many such setups have historically proved little more than poorly-executed masturbatory fantasies, bulgarian Ivo Iliev has clearly had the objectivity to pull this off (pun intended). Driven by simplistic keyboards and sparse, brittle guitar, there's as much goth here as there's metal, but Iliev avoids most of the usual pitfalls associated with the conjoining of these genres through pure naivety, or so it seems. Uncluttered and airy, many of the pieces here would cease to function in the hands of six or seven egoistical musicians battling to be heard, but Darkflight's approach also harbours the album weaknesses. With a drum machine providing the central drive and a home recording space supplanting the advantages of a proffesional facility, 'Under The Shadow...' sounds just a tad too much like an excellent demo and would have benefited greatly from some expert knob-twiddling. It's tricky to know where Darkflight might fit in within the mutable terminology of metal, but only Green Carnation spring to mind when one considers music a million miles from the leather'n'studs cliches but which could find a home nowhere else. A promising first step.

Review at Lords Of Metal

Darkflight? Didn't I already have something of that band? Nope, that was Dark Light, an Italian gothic thingy. Nice, but not out of this world. How about Darkflight? That is a different story! First, it's Bulgarian, second it's black metal with gothic and doom influences. But is it out of this world? Read on and decide for yourself. The ingredients: A lovely (friendly) female voice in the distance, black grunts, dominant (yet not in an annoying way), heavy keyboards, drums that vary form wild to subtle and intense guitars. More intense than Summoning, but it does remind me of them from time to time. This is partly due to the grunts that are in the back, just like the female vocals, which gives the band a typical sound. This sound can be ascribed to mister Ivo Iliev (Dreamflight, indeed), who is solely responsible for the music and the lyrics. With the help of the beautiful, almost fairy-like voice of Tatyana Teneva. How about the rest? Ivo Iliev. Everything? Everything! And can this gentleman be proud of what he has achieved? Sure! "Under The Shadow Of Fear" is a very atmospheric album. Only the art work was not done by him but by the French Christophe Vacher (his site is very worth visiting if you're into fantasy-art..). Mr Iliev's music tells nearly mythical stories about magic, adventure, battle and other mediaeval themes. His lyrics, therefore, are very suitable for people who are into Tolkien, for instance. The atmosphere of the album is dark, but lighter tunes as in "The Eclipse Of Life" are a positive exception. A good album, with a fitting end that makes it a whole. Good Job, Ivo!

Review at Into Obscurity

What an ethereal trip Darkflight is. The first time through "Under the Shadow Of Fear", I was a bit puzzled. After a few more listens, I finally got the idea. This one-man project play what most people would consider symphonic, gothic black metal. There's only one catch - the guitar is practically non-existent! Ivo Iliev, the mastermind behind this work, relies on a keyboard alone to provide both the melodies and harmonies for the soundtrack to his tempermental and tortured lyrical scrawlings. I'm not sure if there's a guitar or not, to be honest. There are moments on the CD where it sounds like a guitar may be playing, but it's so buried in the background and quiet compared to the main keyboard that it's difficult to tell whether it's the actual instrument or a keyboard being played on the guitar setting. Darkflight also use a drum machine which plays sorrowfully slow drum beats to give this a very doomy feel. The only outside help comes in the form of a female voice which is used more to provide atmosphere more than anything else. "Under the Shadow of Fear" is definitely an acquired taste. If the sounds of majestic, gothic black metal tickle your fancy - take note. With the lack of a large guitar presence, Darkflight play music that sounds more like the soundtrack to a "Conan: The Barbarian" sequel than a metal record.