After their well-received debut The 5th Harmonic of Death (2011) Kharkiv-based duo Quintessence Mystica (Master Alafern – all instruments/arrangements and Dromos Aligianos – vocals) just delivered their second album Duality a few days ago via German label Schwarzdorn Productions. Quintessence Mystica want to explore what is behind the borders of common sense and sanity, and thus Duality leaves the unstable ground of reality and ventures on into the fields of all those things our erudition negates …

Regarding their music, nothing’s really new on Duality: Quintessence Mystica delivers an outstandingly well composed Symphonic Black Metal, epic in dimension. This does not come as a surprise; those of you who know The 5th Harmonic of Death will see that they continue where they started off. And, of course, the fact that Master Alafern plays violin for the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Kharkiv Philharmonic may count in that, too. Given this, comparisons to their Norwegian counterparts Dimmu Borgir come to mind easily, especially since the voice of Dromos Aligianos reminds me a lot of Shagrath. So let’s get this done with: Those of you who liked Abrahadabra should listen to Duality! The mixture of the orchestral parts with raw and cold Black Metal work really well here and give testimony to the musical understanding Master Alafern undoubtedly has.

After a short, playful “Prelude”, “The Secrets of victorious Decisions” fastens the pace, which is kept by “The infinite Dance of Numbers”. This song was presented on YouTube recently, so give it a try (click)! With this song, the depth of Duality as a theme in Quintessence Mystica’s music is disclosed; they approach it not only in terms of spirituality, but try to approach it from various angles. “Destructions of Galaxies” then makes me sit up and listen closely: This rather slow song gets my attention through its “Black Metal from Outer Space”-Synthies (that reminded me that Vyre’s second album is overdue!) is beautifully composed and really intensive!


Quintessence Mystica are a hell lot more adventurous than their colleagues from Norway, and this reveals in pieces like the above mentioned “Destruction of Galaxies” or the following “Creep & Damage”, that ends with an instrument seldom heard in this genre: a trombone gives it an almost jazzy ending and adds a beautiful bonus that proves how discrete and self-contained Quintessence Mystica are. “Equations of daemonic Revelations” then surprise with a female opera voice in the background that creates an atmosphere of mystery. The song also offers passages that sound like freaky circus music, making the song utterly dark and inscrutable. But it also gets a bit overladen with all those elements. Duality ends with an instrumental outro, “Breathing of Saturn Rings”, that takes us back into outer space once again.

Due to problems with the cover artwork (three designers were on it, until Al.Ex from Myahem Design finally came up with a picture that satisfied the band), Duality’s release was postponed several years, since the music was already recorded in 2011. All in all, Duality is an album of baroque complexity and diversity. Every time you listen to it, you will discover new details, new twists, new passages. I am not done yet with Duality, but I would wish for more self-contained songs and sound experiments like “Destruction of Galaxies” and “Creep & Damage”!

Quintessence MysticaDuality (Digi)
Schwarzdorn Production, released 20.6.2014
11,99 Euro
Order CD | | Schwarzdorn Productions

1. Prelude
2. The Secrets of victorious Decisions
3. The infinite Dance of Numbers
4. Sparks of the Glorious Fire
5. Impulse of Courage
6. Inversion of Reality
7. Destruction of Galaxies
8. Creep & Damage
9. Equations of daemonic Revelations
10. Breathing of Saturn Rings

Total running time: 38:35