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Doomriders - "Darkness Come Alive" (CD)

Doomriders - "Darkness Come Alive" CD cover image

"Darkness Come Alive" track listing:

1. Fade From Black (:59)
2. Heavy Lies The Crown (3:26)
3. Bear Witness (2:49)
4. Knife Wound (1:48)
5. Come Alive (5:05)
6. Night Howler (1:02)
7. Crooked Path (4:48)
8. Lions (4:46)
9. Equalizer (2:32)
10. Night Lurker (1:12)
11. Jealous God (4:41)
12. Mercy (3:07)
13. Night Beckons (:16)
14. Blood Avenger (3:48)
15. Bloodsuckers (2:23)
16. Untitled (:26)
17. Rotter (3:09)

Reviewed by on December 2, 2009

"The foursome from Boston puts on a riveting spectacle, dazzling listeners with soaring guitar harmonies, dueling vocals, and a radiating energy that never seizes to impress."

Converge has had a hell of a 2009. Not only was their seventh album, “Axe To Fall,” ranked one of the top albums of the year by a various assortment of metal critics and fans, but the band members themselves have been keeping busy with their own projects. Guitarist Kurt Ballou has been the man behind the control board for a number of big hardcore releases, including The_Network’s “Bishop Kent Manning” and Rise And Fall’s “Our Circle Is Vicious.” Vocalist Jacob Bannon has been working on a solo album and running his record label, Deathwish Inc. Bassist Nate Newton has been in the studio with his side project Doomriders, recording their second output “Darkness Come Alive.”

The album is the accumulation of many influences from all walks of the metal universe, from the blues metal of early Danzig to the raucous guitar stylings of Thin Lizzy, all held together by a tight hardcore punk sound. The foursome from Boston puts on a riveting spectacle, dazzling listeners with soaring guitar harmonies, dueling vocals, and a radiating energy that never ceases to impress.

Newton takes the role of a frontman with ease, emerging from out of the shadows of Converge to take the spotlight. His vocals are all over the place, slipping in and out of harsh yells and smooth crooning that would make Glenn Danzig blush. The guitar interplay with Chris Pupecki is a treat that gets tastier as the album wears on. The band exudes confidence as a musical unit, working as a collective whole to create slabs of groove-crusted metal with a sharp bite.

The band switches off between fast-paced death n’ roll mayhem (“Heavy Lies The Crown,” “Bear Witness,” “Mercy”) and slower mini-epics (“Come Alive,” “Lions,” “Jealous God”). While the former pack a hefty blow, the latter are where the creative songwriting of Doomriders is exposed. The band knows how to effectively build up a song, tension that mounts to a breaking point. It leads to many exciting moments, as the boiling point tips over, leading to an explosion of aggression. There are also various interludes that move the album along, but don’t serve a real purpose, hindering the album’s flow during the second half. This is only a small knock against the album, though, as there is enough strong material present to get by that bump in the road.

Recorded and mixed by Newton’s fellow band mate Ballou, the production is full and lush; a common trait with any album Ballou has been involved with for the past few years. This, along with the fantastic dynamics between all the band members and the compelling songwriting, makes for a successful sophomore album in “Darkness Come Alive.” Inside the CD packaging of the album lays a brief message, almost a rally cry to the masses, which truly signifies the album in four words: “Go Fast, Play Loud.” There’s no phrase that better describes the overall theme of “Darkness Come Alive.”

Highs: Dual guitar leads and harmonies abound, Newton's eccentric vocals, creative mini-epics that has an old-school heavy metal vibe.

Lows: Various interludes hinder the album's flow, especially in the second half, the longer songs could have been more spread out on the album.

Bottom line: A throwback to the early days of heavy metal, with a modern hardcore twist.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)