Of all the new metal releases this week, the only one that really stood out to me was Darkest Era and their second album, “Severance.” Darkest Era hail from Ireland and play metal infused with a Celtic flavor. I don’t see any folk instruments listed, so I assume the Celtic aspect comes through mainly in the lyrics and perhaps some of the guitar riffs.

I first received the promo copy of “Severance” about a month ago, and I have been chomping at the bit to talk about this band ever since. I immediately texted my friend Buke and told him he had to hear this band, but I wanted to hold off on an official review until closer to the album release (because I don’t like to tease you with what you cannot yet have.)

How to describe this album? Well, I can say that I was immediately taken with the album almost as soon as it started playing through my headphones. In terms of what these songs sound like, though, I find myself hesitant to apply any labels that might give an inaccurate impression. So take what I say with a grain of salt and listen below to get a better impression.

The music is both reasonably heavy and fairly melodic. I could easily hear harsh vocals over these songs and I wouldn’t think twice about it, but these vocals are all clean. I like that they manage clean vocals without heading in an overly-melodic power metal direction. Would it be a cop out to simply call this singing?

While listening to “Severance” I was constantly visited by this feeling of familiarity, yet when I turned my attention towards trying to determine why, I could not think of any reason why this should be; I am unable to think of any bands that Darkest Era bring to mind. The closest I get is that some of the guitar work might give a slight tip of the hat to Iron Maiden, but otherwise this feels refreshingly original. I am beginning to believe that this familiarity is simply the result of “Severance” being so easy to enjoy.

I have not yet had the opportunity to check out Darkest Era’s first album, “The Last Caress of Light”, but I intend to check it out as soon as I can lay hands on a copy. I have no reservations about suggesting readers check out “Severance.” I am confident many metal fans will enjoy this album. Want some proof to back that up? Have a listen below to the album’s opening track, “Sorrows Boundless Realm.”