Having established themselves since 2017 as a regular and reliable fixture on the UK black metal live scene, Argesk have finally seen fit to furnish us with recordings of their compositions. A full album release at this stage does seem rather ambitious as they’ve previously only released a sole demo track on Bandcamp, however Clobber Records have taken a punt on them.
Opening track “Spellbound By Candlelight” is a deftly fingered piano intro, with an echoing heartbeat keeping pace throughout. First track proper “Lord Of The Boundless Void” betrays some clear influence from early CoF and Dimmu, though the gothic atmospherics aren’t so much drenched with bombastic symphony, rather leaning more towards folkish dungeon synth.
Unlike many other fledgling bands who push their keyboards to the foreground, Argesk are no danger of becoming Summoning clones. The songs are well-paced with a solid performance on the drums from long time Hecate Enthroned sticksman Bob Kendrick, and the vocal style periodically alternates from a Filth-esque rasp to frenzied shrieks and even spoken word passages, most notably in the folky middle section of “Adversary”.
The guitars are quite low down in the mix, playing second fiddle to the keyboards for the most part. It’s a shame as if you listen closely enough there’s some stunning guitar work at play here, with catchy melodic riffs that bring Dissection to mind. In keeping with a vaguely gothic vampiric theme, album closer “Drowned In Freezing Waters” is based on the tragedy of Dracula’s wife drowning in the Arges river, from whence the band’s name comes (the additional “k” in their name is just a bit of added spice!). A spacey, mournful synth brings the album to a climax.
Whilst Argesk have many strengths, their key weakness is that most of the songs here sound unfinished, as if they could be developed further. For all it’s great performances, “Realm Of Eternal Night” displays potential that is not yet fully realised, and more time spent demoing material in future will yield better results.