DARKC3LL may be from Brisbane, Australia, but they sound like they were born and raised on good old-fashioned American Metal. Their new album Dark Verses is out today, and at the behest of my good buddy Tom over at FiXT Publicity, I decided to give it a whirl. I was initially hesitant, because this normally isn’t my thing. Rob Zombie and old Marilyn Manson are usually as far as I go into the industrial-sounding metal, but I am nothing if not open-minded. So, here goes:
Opener and title track “Dark Verses” sets the tone with angry verses and choruses, J. Dracman spitting fire. “Freakenstein” has an electro-groove to it that made it one of the better tracks upon first listen. Guitarist Postmortem Matt (who also handles most of the synth programming on the album) seems to have fun with effects on “Death of Rock’n’Roll”, and the riffs are tight. Smash hit “Exorcist” is next, and I have to admit, despite it being such a hit (#4 on the iTunes Metal chart), I really didn’t like it at first. I damn near hated it. But that’s the thing with music; sometimes a song just sneaks up on you. By the fourth listen I found myself humming it while I was doing other things, so it grew on me. Matt’s solo is quite good here, too, something I missed on earlier listens.
“Six Hundred & Six Six” opens with a church-type organ before jumping head first into Manson territory. Quite frankly, THESE are the type of songs he should be putting out instead of that Born Villain crap, but I digress. I’d actually be interested in hearing DARKC3LL cover one of his songs…something to think about. “Suicide Death Ride” is another really well-done song, this time sounding rather Zombie-esque, but paying homage, not ripping off. The sitar sound effect enhances the song, and when the chorus kicks in, look out!
“Bang!” is probably my favorite here. It’s got gang vocals, and drummer Jay Macabre and bassist Rit Derelict lay down the groove while Postmortem Matt fires away, riffs and chords ringing out all over town! “Rest When I’m Dead” has distorted effects-laden vocals from Dracman, and an eerie synth line behind them. The verses are a little on the softer side, the refrain more aggressive, but it’s balanced well. What can only be described as clocks being wound is the beginning of closer “The One I Fear”. Dracman opts for no effects on his vocals here, just him and a guitar behind him for the first two minutes. Little by little the rest of the band, and the effects, come creeping in to pick up the tempo, and end things rather strongly.
As I said earlier, I’m not usually a fan of the whole industrial horror-rock thing, because I think a lot of the bands put too much emphasis on the shock value, and almost none on writing good songs. I can honestly say that’s not the case with DARKC3LL. They did have to grow on me, but once they did, I gotta admit, it’s a solid record.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Bang!”, “Freakenstein”, “Suicide Death Ride”, “Six Hundred & Six Six”