Sound — 8
Through Darkness are a two piece progressive/melodic death metal band from Portugal, and this much-delayed EP is a sort of concept album, if you will. It is split up into two parts, with each part containing an introduction, two songs and a finale. The first half focuses on personal struggles and the second is inspired by Finnish mythology. The music itself is strong throughout, with a core of melodic death metal with a more extreme edge and many different influences, ranging from ambient music to folk music shining through. Unfortunately the very atmospheric sound of the music is let down by the production of the album, with programmed drums and guitar tone sadly detracting from what would otherwise be quite an immersive experience. Given the full capabilities and personnel to produce this music with full top quality engineering and sounds, this would be absolutely fantastic but unfortunately the band is limited to sounding sort of one-dimensional whilst listening passively. Obviously when you think about the music you're hearing, the band pulls out many different textures (helped by the layered guitar work of Elvio Rodrigues and the vocals of Bruno "Shark" Pereira) but if you let it fade into the background it will feel like you're listening to the same song over and over. This is no fault of the music itself though, so they score highly there.
Lyrics — 7
The two concepts of the EP, personal struggles and Finnish mythology, are both very clearly displayed in the song's lyrics, however I feel that the quality of the lyrics themselves aren't that great (perhaps because English is not the band's first language). It resorts to a lot of clichs and some of the verses seem very forced. However, they are quite entertaining, and some of the imagery used, particularly on Vinminen, is good. Overall though, the lyrics are nothing special.
Overall Impression — 8
A Journey Through Darkness is no doubt a solid piece of work, and I feel that with some more funding, a real drummer and a full length album, Through Darkness could really create some top drawer progressive metal, but the real sound of the EP overall doesn't do the music found on it justice, if that makes any sense. However, very well-written music and lyrics and good performances all around make the EP worth checking out, and be sure to remember the name Through Darkness, as I think they will make some great records in the future. Recommended for fans of Ayreon, Dark Tranquillity and Zero Hour.