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CD REVIEW: DARKHAUS – When Sparks Ignite

| 9 November 2016 | Reply


Label: Oblivion / SPV

Release Date: September 30, 2016

Rating: 10/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Tax season strikes again.  I sit in an office for long hours for eight weeks beginning the middle of August, so I have a lot of time to listen to music in the background and see if it strikes my fancy and invites a longer listen away from the office and a computer.  From the first listen through, I knew the latest from Darkhaus was special and would garner a lot of my attention.  Disc opener “All Of Nothing” brings a heavy sound wrapped around some cool vocals and an industrial vibe that permeates nearly every track on the collection.  The chorus is interesting and morphs into a cool bridge that gives us a cool solo before more of the infectious chorus takes us out.  “The Last Goodbye” starts off with a cool riff that is soon joined by a killer tempo and bottom end, led by heavy handed drumming and a steady bass line from Paul Keller and Gary Meskill respectively.  Much like the opening track, the chorus builds on the verse and gives the song a little added punch.  “Second Chance” brings together the heavy bottom end and big riffs together with Ken Hanlon’s vocals and swirls perfectly to create a heavier track that doesn’t rely on droning sounds and grooves.  “Helpless” is a solid track that relies heavily on the vocals and the dual guitars from Rupert Keplinger and Marshall Stephens to carry it through.  The rhythm section seems lighter and less punchy, but it suits the sound and feel of the song.  “Oceans” is a beautiful track that brings together more industrial sounds and beats with vocals and a cool tribal drum groove.  The track changes up the sound and feel at the chorus, but it fits the track perfectly and works alongside the other tracks on the disc.  “To Live Again” has an epic opening sound that gives way to a great chugging riff and solid vocals.  The guitar work is awesome on this track, as it merges Keplinger’s solos, pings, and squeals with Stephens’ supporting chugging riff that builds the song up through the chorus.

“Feel My Pain” seems to unfold slowly, but once the track comes to life the song blossoms thanks to some of the best vocal on the disc, thanks to an emotionally-driven delivery.  The song explodes at the chorus and then recoils to another killer verse that keeps the song edgy and different, especially at the bridge.  “After The Heartache” kicks the doors down with a chugging riff that is wrapped around one Hanlon’s best vocals on the disc, along with a catchy chorus and rhythm section that delivers a solid rock performance that seems different than most of the songs here, but fits perfectly on the disc.  “Devil’s Spawn” is one of those tracks that doesn’t grab you through the intro, but as soon as the bands kicks in with a cool tempo and riffs that are screaming to be heard, that all changes.  As the song shifts into overdrive as it approaches the chorus, the driving rhythm and Meskill’s bass line gets the foot tapping and the head banging, giving the disc another top notch rock track.  “Lonesome Road” is another track that comes charging at you from open to close, even though it seems to slow a bit leading into the verse – do not mistake the slowed cadence from drummer Keller for a less intense rocker.  The lyrics are catchy and the tempo shifts make for an interesting song.  “Tears Of Joy” is by far the mildest song musically on the disc, as this piano driven ballad is just as intense as any of the rockers on this collection.  Ken Hanlon’s vocals perfectly swirl with the piano in the mix and deliver a solid ballad that shows another side of the band that sits perfectly against any other song here.  Closer “Bye Bye Blue Skies is a perfect bookend for this disc.  The guitars from Stephens and Keplinger complement each other and play well against the anchoring rhythm section.  The charging groove of this track is infectious and demonstrates how well these guys do what they do – draw you in and rock your world.

Tracklisting: All Of Nothing – The Last Goodbye – Feel My Pain – Second Chance – After The Heartache – Helpless – Devil’s Spawn – Oceans – Lonesome Road – To Live Again – Tears Of Joy – Bye Bye Blue Skies






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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