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“I feel I’ve reached a stand still in the creative process with Darkane and together we came to the decision to let fresh blood into the band for the upcoming fifth album. Darkane is constantly evolving and I'm sure that this ignition will be great for the band." Such was the official notice given by Andreas Sydow to the fans, on his departure. But I will posit that we all know the REAL reason Sydow stepped down: because there was no fucking way in hell the Swedes were ever going to write anything as good as Layers of Lies; and if Demonic Art is any indicator, then I must speak the truth! Well, it's not as if this was the shittiest followup possible, and there are a handful of exciting moments throughout, but for some reason the material here feels recycled, 'old hat' ideas that were taken out of the coat room just to maintain some stability in Darkane's continued existence.
The 'fresh blood' in this case was fellow scenester Jens Broman, who had appeared on a Construcdead album as well as in the supergroup The Defaced, which Darkane's guitar wizard Klas Ideberg. I dug his performance on that band's sophomore outing Karma in Black, which was a sort of hybrid of groove metal circa Machine Head or Pantera if given a kick injection by the local melodic Swedish death/thrash. He's actually a natural fit for the band, not only because of his prior association with the members, but by the fact that he can do slightly melodic hooks and gritty snarls, but I was quite shocked when I heard this that he was doing his best at a Sydow impersonation. Granted, Andreas himself was taking stylistic notes from the first album's vocalist, Lawrence Mackrory (who has now returned to the band), but here the gulf seems ever slighter. What I'm getting at, is that this is not really feeling like 'fresh blood' after all, but rather the same blood on the verge of congealing. He just doesn't add anything new to the sound, nor does he do such a manic and inspiring job as his predecessor, so Demonic Art's success is left up entirely to the rest of the band.
And they try. They really do. For every lumbering, vapid chugging groove in the foundation, they'll attempt some wavy guitar theatrics. Like Layers of Lies, the album isn't short on atmospheric segues like the synth intro to "Execution 44", or the warm, cozy acoustics and lead of the interlude "Wrong Grave". Much of the writing seems like a mash up of the prior two records, especially the slower Expanded Senses chugs, but this album is far more cleanly produced, and lacks some of that rumbling density. On the whole, it just fails to really convince anyone with its atmospheres, because they seem like uninteresting dressings for a series of thrashing riff progressions that are far from Darkane's best. And that is really why this album sits at the bottom of their barrel (without spilling out onto the floor): its comprised so largely of ideas from the first four, or Ideberg's other work in Terror 2000 or The Defaced. Which would be fine if the band could rifle out some emotionally charged, memorable chorus parts, or the infectious rhythm and lead guitars that thrust the last album into my playlist of perpetuity; but even at its most jerky or progressive, like "The Killing of I" or the warmer "Demigod", it falls short of leaving an impression...
Technically, this is no disservice to the futurist thrash the band had been exploring since the late 90s, but it feels like a step sideways and then in reverse. There's just nothing here like a "Secondary Effects", "Layers of Lies" or "Vision of Degradation" to get the blood flowing. The musicians all turn in dextrous and astute performances, and the cleaner production values (at least over Rusted Angel or Expanded Sense) mark it among their more accessible works, but it sort of reminds me of one of the 21st century Nevermore albums, in which there is such an intense, calculated effort that leads little quality emotional resonance to the songs. I don't really want to blame Broman, because he's doing what he can to fit into the band's history, but perhaps the Swedes might have tried something different and really evolved their sound...instead of half assing it. Demonic Art is sleek, professional, and busy enough to listen through a few times, but the well of compositions seemed to have dried up here. Best wait for another rainstorm before venturing out again.
I first came across Darkane a several years ago with their release Expanding Senses; I was very new to melodic death metal, my knowledge was very limited mostly to a few American acts - I remember listening to the album and loving one or two songs but really not finding much more special from it. I deleted the mp3s later on and just decided to check Darkane out once Demonic Art was just now released.
Demonic Art reminds me a lot of what my first impression of them was a few years ago. I've now gone back and listened to Expanding Senses again and really do enjoy it, it's far better than this release, but that's a different review. Darkane are from Sweden, they are on Nuclear Blast, they play melodic death metal, I think I could possibly sum up the review with that. No, I wouldn't even get 3 points with that... Demonic Art has a lot of your typical Swemelodeath riffing, your go-figure strained/barked vocals and a polished production. Though, that may sound bad, it doesn't quite harm the overall sound as it can with a lot of cases. The production makes the punch more powerful, as a lot of the songs rip through the speakers at a furious pace. The first couple opener songs raise hell and open the album with a raucous headbanging fury, with moments of Meshuggah like arbitrary technicality.
The album has 12 tracks with 2 instrumentals and a bonus tracks, mostly compromising itself of tracks at a faster pace enough to make your head. There's lots of moments of melodic noodling or groovy parts that really bore the hell out of me. The vocalist maintains a steady bark throughout the album, somewhat enjoyable very reminiscent of Jens Kidman from Meshuggah; but so many times he ends up giving a go at clean "singing". It's way too mainstream sounding, very lame - something you'd hear from Anders fucking Friden nowadays. "The Killing of I" has an absolute definite Meshuggah feel, straight from the get go, while "Execution 44" and "Demigod" has a ridiculously commercial and groovy feel. It's a bit inconsistent considering how strong the album started off with a ferocious pace.
Darkane go for the ever growing popular style of melodic death metal, heaps of melody contrasting with the "extreme metal". They've been at it for a while, they started really strong with their earliest material over 10 years now. It seems Darkane has kept it consistent for the most point of their career, though with this 2008 release, Demonic Art seems to be a bit lacking. I've grown tired of this kind of thing, there's no real oomph to the music, it's grown a bit bland and doesn't pack as much of an overall punch. Demonic Art itself, starts off strong with a few cool songs as well as the bonus song being a standout track, but the overall feel isn't memorable in the least bit. I still enjoy the melodeath style that Sweden is becoming popular for, but I'm gonna stick with Nightrage this time.
Swedish thrashers Darkane's fifth album "Demonic Art" puts me in a kind of pickle I don't like when attempting to review albums, in that it is a good album that will no doubt be enjoyed by many, with generally good reviews all round, but is one I personally just don't like. Darkane's style is so Scandinavian it hurts. It's all about the tech-thrash here, the Swedish melodrama there and the combination of shouted and cleanly sung vocals that combine to produce an album that will no doubt appeal to fans of The Haunted, Soilwork, Carnal Forge and the Japanese, whom have a strange fascination with Scandinavian melodic death/thrash.
It is Carnal Forge who provide the closest point of reference to the music of Darkane. Brutal hyper thrash punctuated by moments of sweet melody enveloped in a modern production, very much of the kind loved by kids well on the way to the harshest end of the metal spectrum. New vocalist Jens Broman is well-versed in how to conduct oneself with such a role due to his experiences in the similar Construcdead and The Defaced and feels very much at home on "Demonic Art", his shouty screams of the majority complimenting the pissed off thrash while the clean anthemic chorusses of "Impetious Constant Chaos", "Leaving Existence" (among a choice of many) are those bits guaranteed to pick up many fans not quite won over by the technical brutal thrashing that is Darkane's mainstay. What I feel is the controversial point separating the generational opinion divide on bands like Darkane and Soilwork is the riff structure; old thrash of the kind I (and predominantly the older Metalheads) love (Dark Angel, Testament etc.) feels a long way from the tempo driven, riff punctuation of these bands. I would personally prefer to hear thrashing riffs based upon chord progressions and/or dexterity upon the fretboard rather than albeit well-played twee melodies or worse, staccato riffing ala Meshuggah. "The Killing Of I", "Demigod", "Soul Survivor" all blighted by this are reduced to the feel of a group of individuals who have lost the knack of writing proper metal riffs.
As declared immediately in this review it needs to be pointed out that "Demonic Art" is no bad album. The problem I feel is most accurately summed up by sub one minute instrumental "Wrong Grave"; on a more passionate album this would espouse some sort of feeling and emotion with it's Jeff Loomis inspired solo; on "Demonic Art" it feels just like a delay tactic to give the listener a breather before the onset of further hyper thrasing in "Still in Progress". If you are Japanese or/and like your metal both aggressive and technical with the vibes of a 21st century record "Demonic Art" will satiate, but the destination for intense feeling or real brutality this is not.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net
Formed in 1998, this Swedish act has managed to produce 5 full-length CD's. 'Demonic Art' is their latest onslaught. The only other album I've heard from them is 'Rusted Angel' (1998). I'd have to conclude that 'Rusted Angel' is a better release. However, I do like this new album a lot. The meaning of "Darkane" is a comes from two words: "dark" and "arcane."
The bonus CD features 3 new tracks so the whole CD clocks in to be almost fifty-one minutes. It also has a DVD to it. Their current line-up is Jens Broman on vocals, Christofer Malmstrom on guitars, Klas Ideberg also on guitars, Jorgen Lofberg on bass and Peter Wildoer on drums. Darkane has gone through some line-up changes since they originally formed.
This act used to play primarily melodic death metal. Their current genres are melodic death metal mixed with thrash metal. These styles seem to fit the album well. On their official website, the band shows their influences. If you go to their page, you'll see who their musical preferences are.
For the intro, there is a melodic piece that segues into track two. The guitars altogether feature heavy galloping riffs which demonstrates the thrash influence. The chorus sections are more on the melodic side. The music is pretty catchy. Best to play the album on a high blasting stereo so that you don't miss out on any of the riffs. The vocals feature high end screams along with clean parts, particularly during the choruses. The time signatures are all over the place. There's even some blast beats. The guitar leads are well thought out. Some are slow and melodic while others completely shred.
In addition, the music features several riffs per song which demonstrate their newer style. Most songs are definitely a combination of melodic death and thrash as I previously stated. It's a definite unique blend of genres. The guitars are what stands out the most for me. Most of the songs are heavily distorted but there are clean tone bits as well.
In terms of the sound quality, 'Demonic Art' is well mixed. You can hear all of the instruments in unison. The playing overall shows how talented this band is. The reason why I say this is because Darkane is not only able to mix two genres together, they are also capable of coming up with completely new riffs that totally dominate.
The lyrical themes are about psychology, inner struggles, and life. I think that they are well thought out and not completely nonsensical. It shows how diverse this band is. There are no covers on the new release.
I think that all of the tracks here I pretty much like. This release is quite awesome. Not only is the mixing good, but the songs are very catchy. Check out the songs "Leaving Existence", "Execution 44" and "Demigod" to come up with your own opinion!
DARKANE is probably known to most of you, since they have managed to become known right from their second full-length album "Insanity" (2001). Back then, the band had managed to sign a contract with probably the biggest Metal label Nuclear Blast Records and have a kickass promotion. How is this band doing 7 years later?
The Swedish metallers have released two more full-length albums since then, "Expanding Senses" (2002) and "Layer Of Lies" (2005), both through Nuclear Blast. Since their last album, I had no news regarding this band, but the Swedish act seems to be making a new start since they signed with the ever growing German label Massacre Records to release their brand new album entitled "Demonic Art".
The thing about these guys is that they started as a ’classic’ NWOSDM band and I was never amazed by their music, since this kind of music was (and is) kind of boring. Surprisingly as time went by, DARKANE started featuring more and more Thrash Metal elements in their music, and I can say that their new album is a great sample of Swedish melodic Thrash Metal with only a few NWOSDM elements left in the mixture. The band managed to leave the IN FLAMES/SOILWORK ’custody’ and now shares more similarities with bands like CARNAL FORGE and THE HAUNTED.
For one more time, the band’s sound is crystal clear, something that gives the album the push it really needs to sound deadly. One more thing that has changed during these three years of silence, is that DARKANE have a brand new singer. Jens Broman is probably already known to you from his participation in bands like CONSTRUCDEAD and THE DEFACED. So, what are you waiting for? Do you need more proof to go and check them out? I guess when the relentless drumming with the shredding poisonous guitars melts your face you will have more than enough...
Thumbs up for Broman’s vocal performance, since this guy is a really great and talented singer!
Originally written for Metal-Temple.Com