Dark Millennium “Diana Read Peace” (1993)

For lifetimes pantomime
transformed into a parade of mountains
delivered from the golden doctrines
allowed the bleed…
…Bleed to MYTH.

If there was a band in the early Nineties that dismantled the borders of the back then contemporary doom and death metal with unparalleled energy and enthusiasm, it must be Dark Millennium – a band truly so much ahead of its time that it disbanded shortly after its second full length album and final masterpiece “Diana Read Peace”.

In retrospective it seems as if the German quintet hardly reached the attention of the common metal fans with its dark kaleidoscopic music, but gained a respectful status mostly among open-minded musicians and fanzine editors. The high artistic ambitions, reflecting in song monsters like “Mechanismeffects : An Erotic Ethics Error Portrait” or “Fatehistory : The Apocryphal Wisdom Of An Allegorical Apocalypse”, obviously created a natural distance to the general topics and aesthetics in the extreme metal of that time, but woke a fascination among the music lovers who hungered for new approaches which explored the world beyond the horizon. From a rather emotionless angle we can today state that the lyrics weren’t totally far away from the fantastic visions of other bands who strove for mythological perspectives like for example the Swedish namesakes from Dark Tranquillity. But if I remember the feelings with which some friends and I discovered the music of Dark Millennium, I can note without transfiguration that with “Diana Read War” this band widened our musical universe by light years. Moreover a song like “Pandemonium” was groundbreaking for a somehow transcendental perception and awareness that reflected in many black metal song texts later on.

Even now it seems impossible to describe the impertinence with which the five-piece constructed its compositions: the basis in death metal can only be anticipated, but most of the structures and harmonies simply refuse to be reduced on a specific style. Vocalist Christian Mertens’ way to sing differed to everything you had heard in death metal before. Although he had no advantageous voice, he developed a wide range and sings with a significance which makes his performance simply outstanding. If you hear him sing, you have to believe his words, whatever they might say… It is rumoured that Hilton Theissen, one of the two guitarists, was the mastermind of Dark Millennium, and thus responsible for the many atmospheric guitar layers with which he is said to have driven some people nearly mad (I can recall meeting the band’s ex-manager some years after its annulment, telling me some anecdotes from the studio sessions). In 1993 the guitar arrangements in fact blasted the imaginable, especially if you consider the band’s roots. This is still much more than “death metal goes Pink Floyd” or whatever cheesy slogans come up whenever writers (and I include myself in this case) are overburdened. It is visionary and so very uncompromising and definite in its performance that it still stands alone for itself. This facet unveils the undeniable fascination power of “Diana Read Peace”: the music abstains from the conventional schemes of brutality and instead operates by its own rules which make “Diana Read War” an album offering not only many surprises but a definition of avant-garde metal which is unchallenged.

Now that the breath has gone the fire claims its might;
now that in this dark millennium no master is alive.
Now that a castle stands between the ruins of the past;
now that the omens wither away, no hope will ever last.

-Thor Joakimsson

VITALS:

Release:  1993
Label:  Massacre Records
Avantgenre:  Dark Avantgarde Metal
Duration:  63:56
Origin:  Germany
Official site:  None
Review online since:  04.03.2009 / 10:22:14

TRACKLIST:

01 – Mission
02 – Dead In Love
03 – Of Sceptre Their Ashes May Be
04 – Brotherhood Sleep… Back To Treasureland
05 – Mechanismeffects
06 – Fatehistory
07 – Peace In My Hands
08 – My Repertory Of Grey
09 – The Mindartist
10 – In And For Nothing
11 – Pandemonium
12 – Myth

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