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Darkane - Rusted Angel

1997 WAR Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-02

You've probably noticed by now, but I'm one of those rabid fans that calls the record store to make sure that the new releases are ready the Tuesday they're put on the shelves. Needless to say, this puts quite a bit of pressure on the artists in question, because not only am I expecting something great, the anticipation involved makes me almost hyper-critical. So, when Rusted Angel's release date came and no disc was available, I was not happy. In a brilliant move, the band actually sent me a personal copy of their disc, something that not only am I honored by, but guaranteed extra special attention from yours truly. Well, the disc appeared, and I spun it, and spun it, and spun it. I taped it, I made a copy for the practice room. I have one in my car, and all my friends now own it. Simply put, the album is just fucking incredible. Comparisons can be drawn, and if put in a corner, I'd name Darkane the cantankerous bastard child of Arch Enemy and Meshuggah, yet born mature and wise way beyond their years. This is of course due to the experience of these musicians, coupled with my opinion that these guys have a true gift for writing outlandishly technical and memorable speed metal. The guitar work is melodious, a given since these boys are from the land of Lingenberries, but one can't deny the almost mechanically precise quasi-offtime riffing/percussion which just flies around this entire affair. Darkane got a lot of attention (and rightly so) on the WarDance compilation, offering two tracks which appear again on Rusted Angel, yet in a completely different way. Amplified in scope, and benefitting from the addition of one Lawrence Mackrory on vocals, July 1999 and Convicted are par for the course here. Meaning of course that the whole album just picks up and moves, not bothering to rest until the end, all pieces of the puzzle falling into place seamlessly. Mackrory's performance is also to be commended here, as he easily switches between roughly 6 voices on each track, something that could be annoying, yet here acts as another instrument of madness, the music taking the life from your body and the vocals dragging your husk of a corpse throughout the dirt. Short classical interludes alleviate some of the tension, but not for long, the album quickly reverting to it's honed attack on the senses. The band also made a wise decision (in my oh-so-humble opinion) of going to Danne Berstrand's Dug-out studios over Studio Fredman or The Abyss. Not that I have anything against those fine establishment, but Bergstrand is more adept at capturing the controlled chaos of releases such as this (witness Destroy Erase vs Chaosphere), pushing every nuanced note into the forefront. I listen to this and easily think to myself, "This is the album XXX should have made", only leaving the names of about ten bands out out of respect. Perfectly balancing the midpaced guitar melody of the Gothenburg Sound with the fury of the NWoSDM, Rusted Angel is easily one of the best albums of 1999, highlighted by strong musical performances from all five fronts. I could go into the small details, such as Wildoer's inspired cymbal work, or both guitarist's killer solos, but instead I'll just leave you with the simple statement that Rusted Angel blows away anything I've heard in the last 6 months, hands down.

Darkane - Layers of Lies

2005 Nuclear Blast Records :: Reviewed by Skeksis on 2005-08-13

Man oh man, what the hell happened to Darkane? People (just about every metal head I know, myself included) used to worship this band, especially the heralded debut "Rusted Angel". We all tolerated "Insanity", change in vocalist and all and at least for myself, enjoyed the slightly slower groove of "Expanding Senses". But jeez guys, what the hell is this turd all about??? From the disjointed inner sleeve artwork that resemble pictures taken by high school photography students (that by the way, seem to have no connection to the cover artwork) to the muddy sound (probably part production and part guitar tuning conspiring to make this into audible mud), this record has got to be THE biggest disappointment this year, second only to Arch Enemies "Doomsday Machine". Boy, these songs are such a disjointed mess, sounding more like a collection of throw away riffs from the last record than anything else. Poor vocalist Andreas Sydow, who has the unenviable job of having to come up with vocal melodies for these "songs" and in the end wind up sounding like two bands got their vocal track and their guitar and drums tracks switched. Nothing syncs up here. I could really use the $17 (yes I bought the damn thing, not on sale either,thank you very much) I spent on this. I could really use the 45 minutes I lost to boot. You could say this whole record is a bunch of layers of lies. Avoid like a Tabasco and soy milkshake.