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Darkness Dynamite - "The Astonishing Fury of Mankind" (CD)

Darkness Dynamite - "The Astonishing Fury of Mankind" CD cover image

"The Astonishing Fury of Mankind" track listing:

1. Supernatural (3:17)
2. Hell Eve Hate (2:59)
3. Immersion Inner Nation (3:54)
4. $15 (4:33)
5. Chasing Inside (3:56)
6. A Simple Taste Of... (0:59)
7. Vice! (3:19)
8. By My Own (3:17)
9. Dare I Say (2:56)
10. The Everlasting Grace Of Mind (3:18)
11. The Astonishing Fury Of Mankind (5:52)

Reviewed by on June 23, 2009

"If the rest of the songs were as good as '$15' the album would be fantastic."

Darkness Dynamite has one of the better metal band names. Invoking the intimidating power of the dark and the brutality of explosions, the name evokes a powerful combination of perspectives. After a couple of successful EPs, Darkness Dynamite has released its first full album. And unfortunately, the combination of the dark and explosions does not guarantee a good first try.

Darkness Dynamite bills themselves as a combination of death metal, melodic guitar leads, and catchy choruses that draw comparisons to Metallica, Pantera and Sepultura. Those descriptions aren’t accurate, as most of their music doesn’t recall the classic thrash of Metallica or Pantera, or the tribal syncopations of Sepultura.

In reality, they are a metalcore band that mixes in some blast beats and death metal vocals here and there. The first song on the album, “Supernatural,” is a pretty good mix of the two styles. The song is mainly metalcore with grunge-styled guitar riffs, melodic guitar melodies on top, and vocals switching between clean singing and bellowed growls. The band mixes in some death metal shrieks and blast beats toward the end of the song, which is a nice counterpoint to the surprisingly musical preceding bridge. The choruses are catchy throughout, and the guitar lines move in and out of the main riff, creating a powerful, yet ethereal, combination.

While “Supernatural” is a good one, the best song on the album is easily “$15.” The drums and percussive guitar riffs carry the song with a cool groove in the beginning. The verse features riffs reminiscent of Iron Maiden, using the “galloping” syncopation well. The song repeatedly returns to the drum-and-guitar theme, which keeps it grounded, and gives a base for the rest of the song to work off. About halfway through a searing but wistful guitar solo enters on top of the mix. The guitar lead takes the band through multiple sections, with the drums and bass operating well underneath. The entire solo section lasts about 90 seconds and shows versatility and subtlety not seen on the first three songs. The outro breakdown is brutal and effective.

If the rest of the songs were as good as “$15” the album would be fantastic. If the rest of the songs were as good as “Supernatural” the album would be distinctly above average. Unfortunately, none of the other songs are that good.

The second song, “Hell Eve Hate,” sounds exactly like the first. The same layered vocals in the chorus, the same key and guitar sound. They even use the same lead-in to the death metal section. “Immersion Inner Nation” is a whack-fest with each member wailing away on their instruments as hard as they can, but not in a good way. The blast beats just exacerbate the problem as song ends up sounding like a lot of banging and screaming. The entire back half of the album shares the same problem. The clean vocals are buried under a muddy mix, and the shrieks and growls are there just to be there. There is little emotion or conviction. The guitars and drums recycle most of their ideas and are steeped in distortion and a straight time snare. Each could do with more restraint and texture. The only song that starts to break this mold is the last song on the album, which is the title track. Borrowing from the preceding instrumental track, this song still only has enough material for flashes of brilliance.

The only two breaks from the noise are the two instrumental tracks “A Simple Taste Of” and “The Everlasting Grace of Mind.” Both of these feature atmospheric effects, clean guitars, and simple melodies. But most importantly these two songs are musical and engaging. Instead of isolating almost all of their restraint, musicality, and creativity in two instrumental tracks, Darkness Dynamite should have spread these ideas out into the rest of the album. These melodies and musical themes are dramatic and striking, and would have improved the rest of the album ten-fold.

Highs: The best song, “$15,” is a fantastic metalcore track.

Lows: The band doesn’t have much outside their best couple songs.

Bottom line: Darkness Dynamite wasn’t able to carry an entire album off, and the result is mostly a throwaway.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

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)