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The best Dark Angel album.... - 92%

avidmetal, December 23rd, 2009

After the so called 'greatest album of all times' in 1986, Dark Angel return, This time with a new vocalist. Despite being heralded by many as being DA's best album, I believe Darkness Descends is a good album, nothing more. Leave scars is where they went a step further and actually produced something really amazing. The biggest difference here is they changed from their usual "Buzzzz and blast beats" sound to something with a little more vision and intelligence. The production this time is good, unlike DD, where Gene Hoglan overshadowed everything else.

Ron Rinehart doesn't sound so annoying this time and his voice can be clearly heard among the rest. The biggest step-up from their previous efforts is 'Timing', Just knowing when to use speed and when to slow down, I think this is where they actually realised that some slower sections in songs doesn't make them less 'brutal'. Hoglan is a great drummer, But this time he uses his full talents a little more sensibly, His drumming is slower when it needs to be and extremely fast when it needs to be. A lot less repetetive than before. There is not much melody to be found here but still an improvement over the last album. Rinehart doesn't sound that pretentious anymore, His choruses are better and the lyrics are a definite improvement. The guitar playing is pushed to the limit as always. The bass is still loud but not as loud as 'We Have Arrived'.

The tracks 'Never to rise again' and 'No one answers' are two highlights on this album, The riffs are blisteringly fast, Ron Rinehart goes along well with his maniacal lyrics. The improvement here over the last album is that we actually have a chorus to sing along to occasionally and the new vocalist does a good job. Some tracks are exceptionally long, averaging about 7 minutes each, But the added variety to dark angel's arsenal makes them much less monotonous. The longer are tracks are less tedious than before. The best track on this album is 'Cauterization', Which is where Hoglan really shines, He uses slower timing based beats and switches to much faster blast beats and switches between them instantaneously, The transition is seamless. The guitar play is a lot more mature, Having a lot more sense of atmosphere and meaning. Ron is absent here, Which i guess makes this track even better. The Instrumental track slows up and speeds up many times, Leaving you breathless, As this track is truly breathtaking.

At about 50 minutes long, This album feels rightly timed and the song placing is good. Overall, It's a great album, Arguably their best and the best that year. This is the only Dark Angel album i recommend to everyone.