Dargaard Rise and Fall

Rise and Fall is the fourth album from the Tharen/Elisabeth Toriser duo that is Dargaard, and sees the pair continuing the pagan-esque and darkly orchestrated soundscapes of their earlier work. While the orchestral arrangements are richly melancholy — in direct contrast to Tharen’s occasional raspy and sinister whispers — Toriser’s voice is far more ethereal as it follows the curves of medieval melodies. Though large and looming seems to be the firm ground that Rise and Fall ever returns to, Dargaard’s instrumentation often pulls back to an old world sparseness, as in the lute and English horn in the opening strains of "Bearer of the Flame.” Dargaard know how to capture the beauty of darkness, painting it in a series of dips and swells to form a smooth yet uncanny soundtrack of dark wave atmosphere. (Napalm)