Darksun - 2007 The Dark Side
ALBUM: The Dark Side
LABEL: FC Metal Recordings
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Dani Gonzalez Suarez - vocals * Tino Hevia - guitars * Pedro Junquera - bass * Victor Fernandez - keyboards * Rafael Yugueros - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Invocation * 02 The Dark Side * 03 A Hero Reborn * 04 Slaves Of Fear * 05 Blood Brothers * 06 Prisoners Of Fate * 07 Echoes Of The Past * 08 Elegy * 09 Part 1 Confrontation * 10 Part 2 Light Between The Darkness * 11 Part 3 Agony * 12 Part 4 Legend
BackgroundIt's been quite a year for Spain, European Football Winners, Nadal being successful at Wimbledon, well let me add Darksun to this list of successes. Well actually its only been this year that Darksun have come to the attention of many, with tracks being included in a number of magazines free discs. We need to go back to 2005 when this was actually first released, in their native Spanish under the title 'El Lado Oscuro' and wasn't until 2007 that FC Metal Recordings (sounds like a Norwegian Football Team!) released an English speaking version. It followed their debut, 'El Legado' in 2002. Darksun are a 5 piece that play very attractive neo classical metal, while the sticker on the cd states for fans of Kamelot, Angra (yes I agree!), Blind Guardian and Helloween (well not so sure!), especially as Darksun concentrate on the classical side, much more then these quality Germans do. Talking of Germany, much of the CD was recorded there, with it being mixed by Dennis Ward, of Pink Cream 69 and Khymera fame.
The SongsAs common with many in this genre, we have a short instrumental, which leads into the title track. What I like about Darksun is that they don't go for the text book 100 mph neo classical thrash but open with a more considerate approach, concentrating on power and melody, an overall more refined style. They confidently mix swirling keyboards, orchestral choral vocals with a wall of violins. Lots of Angra touches, but more melodic and memorable than their Brazilian cousins. 'A Hero Reborn' has a Symphony X feel to it especially in the opening keyboards provided by Victor Fernandez (who has since departed) then onto some more sweeping melodies before you become blood drunk in majestic riffing. Darksun excel when they drop the speed and by inserting real quiet passages whether by vocals or just a piano interlude, both of which are present in this tune. 'Slaves Of Fear' opens with a Metallica/Dream Theater (who are not that far apart, if you think about it) sound, again choral vocals with further Kamelot and Rhapsody influences. At times Dani sings in a lower register to that of James Labrie, before reaching the highs like Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius. Next up is my favourite being 'Blood Brothers', which contains throughout the song, guitar from the Mercyful Fate book of riffs. One of the most catchy tunes and very reminiscent of early Eyes Of Shiva. Earlier I dismissed two Germans bands as being similar as I feel throughout the CD that Darksun have more in common with Vanden Plas, especially in Dani's vocal delivery which has similiarites to Andy Kuntz. Of course this means accented vocals, but that's never bothered me at all.
'Prisoners of Fate' has the heaviest of riffs, again latter day Dream Theater. This time the vocals are shared with Peavy Wagner from Rage. The combination works well with the more soulful voice coming from Dani, to produce a cracking chorus that features the most melodic word in the dictionary, being 'forever'! 'Echoes Of The Past' is an anagram of Vanden Plas and Stratovarius but this time the influence of Tobias Sammet, from the excellent Edguy is added to the equation. The final masterpiece is 'Elegy' that is broken down into 3 movements, the first of which is the track that features on many of the magazine sampler discs. The pairing of Kamelot and Rhapsody is repeated here, but without the trolls and dragons (although I am a sucker for all that Rhapsody mythology). Again blistering symphonies, powerful melodies, sweeping movements, what more can you ask for?. Part II, comes fresh from an encounter with the Lord of the Rings, horns blast forth, while Part III we finally have the missing piece in the form of the harpsichord, how metal is the harpsichord?, my favourite instrument. Finally a sprinkling of piano, with 'Legend', here the guys finally slow down.
In SummaryWhile many bands on the 'prog' side of neo classical have lots of tempo changes and widdley bits Darksun concentrate on the symphonies and producing more memorable tunes. Darksun form breathtaking masterpieces and like many bands of this genre they are really the classical composers of the 21st century. Darksun do take from the likes of Kamelot, Rhapsody and Vanden Plas so not totally original, but who cares when they do it so well. At the end of September their third CD will be released titled 'Libera Me', I heard some of these great tracks on their Myspace page, all of which are in Spanish, (I hate to say this but.) IF & how quickly they are due to release an English version will be important to continue the advancements they have made with 'The Dark Side'. One of the best albums I have heard this year.
Duplication elsewhere on the Internet is strictly prohibited, unless specific permission is granted.
englandashes September 24 2008 1743 reads 0 comments Print