Dark ERA produced by Eduardo Tarilonte guides us into the dark age where old northern gods determined the fate of mankind. Dark ERA discovers the Vikings and other tribes’ sounds and myths.
Eduardo Tarilonte is a name synonymous with quality libraries. It has taken me some time to get around to reviewing his latest offering, but I am glad I did; Dark Era pays homage to ancient Norse sounds and stories that inspired the Vikings.
Before I talk about the sound and quality of this library I must comment on the sheer beauty of its presentation. If you are familiar with Tarilonte’s libraries such as the Forest Kingdom, you will know he has always excelled when it comes to production value. He doesn’t just use artwork but rather hires artists to create his own original artworks. The presentation booklet is exquisitely printed and bound, with each page reminiscent of historical manuscripts. This may sound indulgent, but it also shows Eduardo’s love and passion into his libraries.
The Dark Era library has a unique graphical style that really gives you a sense of the era and subject matter. This is one of the best-looking libraries I have seen in a long time and that includes mainstream soundware companies, many of which take pride in the look and feel of their products.
The producing companies share details about the recording process to help you understand the effort that was put in. The stringed and wind instruments, as well as some of the drums being used for this library, have been handmade by the master instrument maker Benjamin Simao.
The Dark Era instruments were performed by :
- Benjamin Simao: String Instruments, Shamanic Drums, Tympanum Romano
- Iván Carlón: Wind Instruments
- Adal Fernández del Castillo: Percussion
- Moisés Pérez: Throat and Overtone Singing, Vocal Rhythms
- Joaquim Manjón: Overtone Singing
During the recording of the skin drums, special focus was paid to a full-sounding, powerful bass while retaining punch. You can almost feel the sticks hitting the skins. This sound character will be preserved during the mix – present and powerful. In addition, the metallic percussion instruments, including an anvil and horseshoes, sound piercing and fierce.
Dark Era Installation
After purchase you download the library from the Best Service website, you need to authorize the library in the Best Service player called Engine. This is not a Kontakt player library.
Dark Era by Best Service Review
Dark ERA, is, in a nutshell, a library packed with ancient pagan music and the sound of the Vikings. Personally, I have been using Eduardo Tarilonte for many years and was always remarkably happy with the quality of the other libraries he did release in the past. Eduardo Tarilonte’s sounds are known for always finding good use in projects as the tone and vibe are surpassing the competition and the Quality is constantly top-notch. Dark Era is no exception from the past releases it is very inspirational and this sounds just as great again.
I have been using Dark Era for a few weeks now and I am very impressed with the overall quality of the library. The sounds are great, inspiring, and perfect for cinematic music compositions.
The Library was produced to offer traditional instruments from ancient Europe, resulting in an epic sounding library that will make your tracks sound like they were composed centuries ago!
The vocal selections are very extensive as expected, you can with ease produce a believable northern Viking vibe and character, and a dark atmosphere. Perfect for your next project when the filmmaker has put the scene into this environment. The included drums and percussive sounds are widespread including excellent sounding frame drums and a wide variety of additional percussive instruments. Those virtual instruments are wrapped up with an extraordinary array of pads and soundscapes. Play those pads and soundscapes a bit longer as they develop over time.
Dark Era Instruments
- Bowed Strings: Tagelharpa / Jouhikko Small, Tagelharpa / Jouhikko Big and Crwth.
- Plucked Strings: Cologne Lyre, Ancient Lyre, Trossingen Lyre and Utrecht Lute.
- Winds: War Horn, White Horn, Curved Horn, Shofar, Bukkehorn, Shell, Long Trumpet, Big Horn, Double Flute, Small Bone Flute, Vulture Bone Flute, Pictish Pipes, Elderwood Flute, Overtone Fujara, Didgeridoo and Wooden Lur.
- Percussion: Shamanic Drum Small, Shamanic Drum Big, Big Frame Drum, 5 Square Drums, 2 Skin Drums, 2 Skin Snares, Skin Tom, Sieves, Anvil, 3 Viking Mouth Harps, Jawbone, Pan Medium, Pan Rusted, 7 Seed Shakers, Small Bells, 2 Cowbells, Bullroarer, Horseshoe and Bronze Mortar.
As expected Dark ERA is harmonious to the other ERA-series libraries. The libraries have been also recorded repeatedly by Jorge Calderón Muriel in the Eldana Studio in Spain. The captured instruments have captured by close microphones to gain full details. The recordings are also flexible enough to be shaped with external tools to taste.
The shamanic drums are very inspiring, they have a unique character with an overblown attack but still the typical skin sound. The smaller drum is not so loud or dominant as its bigger brother, but both are of great quality. It’s hard to believe that these drums are sampled without loops so it’s easy to use them as a one-shot. The included snares and single hits complete the sound palette of the shamanic drums, they’re also loud and convincing.
Viking Mouth Harp
The Viking mouth harp is an instrument that’s not so popular anymore in Europe, but I have to say that this library has perfectly processed this instrument. The included wind volume controller is a great addition giving you the possibility to fade in the attack phase of the sound. This way you can mask adjacent instruments that have a similar frequency range, only increasing the flow and musicality of your compositions. My opinion is that Dark Era by Best Service raises this instrument from being odd to being a great addition to your virtual instrument collection.
User interface & Usability
The library has a great look and feel, I am not a big fan of the current version and release of the used Engine Sampler and look forward to a revamped release. The interface has a great layout which enables you to feel comfortable even after hours of using the library. The GUI is very well thought and designed, also adding a help menu that contains links to the Best Service website like frequently asked questions, manuals, and product updates. The navigation bar at the bottom is easy to use and will play instantly in your compositions.
Scalability & Flexibility
The library has a great tonal range and offers slightly different variations of each instrument to make them fit in the mix perfectly. The included skins give you an advantage if you’re looking for more variety, but they are not at all mandatory as the library sounds very good without their sonic impact. This brings me to the point that you can add external sounds on top of this library, for instance, to add more idiomatic elements.
Eduardo Tarilonte’s Dark Era library is an excellent choice for cinematic music compositions. It offers traditional instruments from ancient Europe, resulting in an epic sounding library that will make your tracks sound like they were composed centuries ago! The vocal selections are very extensive, and the percussion sounds are widespread and perfect for your next project when the filmmaker has put the scene into this environment.
Rating: Five out of five stars
Composers who are composing to a dark age or fantasy style vibe for a trailer, to picture or games need to have this one. If you are a producer in need for some glue and special signature sounds for your next song you also need to take a look, not only lounge tracks will benefit from this collection. I could see modular being pulled out of their boring Elektro sounds into fusion and complete new lands.
Dark ERA is a northern god, fantasy, and pagan-style library, super versatile. You get that northern ancient sound. Dark Era is a must-have if you are excited by the barbaric Vikings and the northern vibe. I have a strange connection when I hear these rare ethnic instruments. Dark Era manages to be lovely, deep, and disturbing.
Dark Era is filled with excellent content. If you are looking for an instrument to create tension, this one will do. The sound design on Dark Era is superb and it’s very easy to blend in the elements you like best with your production. You can put these instruments pretty much anywhere; most of them work great as normal world instruments or epic trailer instruments. The interface is super solid, and I didn’t have a single issue with loading or stability.