1999 – present (19 years)
Darkestrah is a pagan black metal band formed in 1999 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan by Asbath. To date, they have released six full-length studio albums, two EPs, two demos, a live album, and a split album. The first demo, titled Pagan Black Act, was recorded in December 1999. In December 2000 the second demo Through the Ashes of the Shamanic Flames was recorded and released through German label Curse of KvN Sadistic in 2003.
In February 2003 the debut album Sary Oy was recorded, which gained a wide response worldwide through NCR in 2004.
Great melodic parts were paired with traditional instruments like Kyl-kyjak, Komuz or Sygyt. Female Black Metal vocals and throat singing that created the athmosphere of the spiritual shamanic people. Sary Oy lyrically brings the ancient kyrgyz tales about three sisters of nature in three songs. This record marked Darkestrah's as one of the most interesting bands within the Shamanic Pagan Black Metal genre.
In September 2004 the limited MLP The Way to Paganism was recorded and released on NCR in 2005.
In August 2005, Embrace of Memory, the second album, was recorded in Blue House Studio, and it was released in October 2005.
In January 2007 Darkestrah released their new album, Epos. This time the band recorded at the the "Kick the Flame Studio'' (studio of the members of the band Disillusion). This album included one magic, long, mid-tempo Black Metal with some acoustic tunes and an atmospheric feel. Epos is completely dedicated to the band's beloved lake Issyk-Kul', which is located in Central Asia. There are more than ten legends, histories, myths, and fairy tales about this lake. Every aspect of Epos signifies a spiritual, almost pre-historic journey. The album is thick with Pagan themes, but it is not done in a way which seems almost cliche in Black Metal these days. Darkestrah’s approach to pagan expression this time has been one of using subtlety to convey power of expression.
In March 2007 Darkestrah ended their relationship with NCR, and signed to U.S. label Paragon Records in April 2007.
In March 2008, Darkestrah finished the recordings for the new studio album The Great Silk Road, and the final work was released on August 31, 2008 through Paragon Records. The CD comes with a Darkestrah logo metal embroided patch, and the entire packaging is wrapped in black silk and stamped in Wax. The Great Silk Road is described as a spiritual, almost prehistoric journey, using pagan themes in a very unique way, often paying homage to the band's Shaman roots. Great melodic parts were paired with traditional instruments like Kyl-kyjak, Komuz or Sygyt. Female black metal vocals and singing created the atmosphere of the spiritual shamanic people.
Since The Great Silk Road, which has in essence served as the band's commercial breakthrough, they have released 2011's EP Khagan, 2013's EP Манас (or Manas, based on the Kyrgyz epic poem of Manas, by some estimates the longest epic poem in the world), 2015's live album Everything Becomes Fire (a primitive recording of a 2006 performance, considered an "official bootleg" by the band), 2016's Akyr Zaman / Tajer al Punqia (a split with Saudi black metal band Al-Namrood, with Darkestrah's side featuring a new recording of a track from Embrace of Memory), and 2016's full-length Turan.
Their major recordings can be streamed and purchased at their Bandcamp site (the demos, the split, and The Way to Paganism are not available, though the split is available at the Bandcamp site of Canadian label Shaytan Productions). Apart from their live album (which is currently only available digitally as a pay-what-you-want download), most of their recordings since their demos have also been pressed on CD and vinyl (The Way to Paganism was only pressed as a single-sided 12" vinyl record, while the Al-Namrood split is currently only available in physical form on CD). No Colours released the vinyl editions of The Way to Paganism and Embrace of Memory; Shaytan Productions did the vinyl editions of Sary Oy, Epos, and The Great Silk Road; Osmose handled the vinyl editions of Khagan, Манас, and Turan. Many of their recordings have also been released as cassettes (as of this writing, Sary Oy, Embrace of Memory, Epos, The Great Silk Road, Khagan, and Манас, all from Narcoleptica Productions; plus the two demos, both from Curse of KvN Sadistic).
Asbath - drums, percussion, folk instruments (1999-)
Resurgemus - keyboards, guitars
Cerritus - bass (2013-)
Merkith - vocals (2014, 2015-)
Scythe - guitars (2016-)
Kriegtalith - vocals (1999-2014)
Anti - guitars
Oldhan - guitars, bass, vocals
Tartar - guitars
Anastasia - keyboards
Shagan - guitar
Ragnar - guitars (2013-2015)
Sharthar - keyboards, cello
Helvete - bass
Discography (year-month-day format where exact release dates are available; year-month format where not):
1999-12 - Pagan Black Act (demo)
2000-09-05 - Through the Ashes of the Shamanic Flames (demo)
2004-01-01 - Sary Oy
2005-04-14 - The Way to Paganism (EP)
2005-10-25 - Embrace of Memory
2007-01-23 - Epos
2008-08-31 - The Great Silk Road
2011-09-24 - Khagan (EP)
2013-05-17 - Манас (or Manas in Latin script)
2015-12-16 - Everything Becomes Fire (live, recorded 2006-07-10 in Bitterfield, Germany)
2016-03-25 - Akyr Zaman / Tajer al Punqia (split with Al-Namrood)
2016-04-27 - Turan
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