Picture of Darkane


Darkane - Insanity ©2001 Century Media
1. Calamitis
2. Third
3. Emanation Of Fear
4. Impure Perfection
5. Hostile Phantasm
6. Psychic Pain
7. 000111
8. The Perverted Beast
9. Distress
10. Inauspicious Coming
11. Pile Of Hate
12. Inverted Spheres

Although many praised Darkane's 1998 debut, Rusted Angel, I found myself having a difficult time sitting though that release. Their vocalist at the time had this monotonous, thin pitched rasp that essentially sounded like a rusty railroad spike being driven directly into the center of my forehead. Sometimes one can set aside the failings of the vocal department, such as with Arch Enemy, and other times it is such a detraction that disc lies on the shelf, collecting dust. In fact, I inadvertantly find myself referring to their debut as Dusted Angel.

With a few years behind them and some lineup changes, Darkane finds themselves in 2001 with a new vocalist named Andreas Sydow who frankly isn't very much of an upgrade. However, his bark and rasp is more like a stainless steel paperclip being driven straight through my earlobe, so his style isn't nearly the detraction of his predecessor. Insanity, the band's long awaited second release, finds them borrowing liberally from late 80s thrash tempos and guitar melodies, a certain angry Vancouver outfit named Strapping Young Lad (they share a producer, incidentally), and the expected Swedish melodic death metal elements. The result is a fairly okay record that, in the course of many listens, has yet to really sell me, but should please fans of their first album. As stated earlier, vocalist Sydow doesn't particularly add a huge dimension to the music and on his cleaner passages, sounds like a certain Devin Townsend. In fact, there are multiple moments where it sounds as though Townsend and his ferocious boys of SYL have broken into the studio, ousted Darkane, and layed down a few minutes of music. The wall-of-sound production style is quite prevalent in many areas of this album. Other times, it sounds as though the lineup for Forbidden's Twisted Into Form have acted as Darkane doppelgangers and provided a few guitar riffs. The biggest problem I have with this album is that the manic tendencies to just blaze through most songs tend to create a monotonous, exhausting listen. It often feels as though the music needs a touch more variety or a breather of sorts to enhance the intensity.

One certainly can't fault the talents of the musicians, however. Aside from the flaws, Darkane is among Sweden's elite musicians insofar as ability. There are more than a handful of furious leads and deft rhythm tricks. Insanity's main fault lies in borrowing a tad too liberally from their influences and sonic production and in a lack of truly dynamic songwriting. And needless to say, the vocals could be oh-so-much better in the future. It would be nice to hear at least one band of this talent level actually find a singer who enhances and adds a truly magical dimension to the music, rather than picking the guy who can bark for an hour straight.

Regardless of everything, Insanity should appeal to thrash fanatics who want to hear a Swedish melodic death bent to it or those who have the pathological need to have their face peeled off by the sounds erupting from their speakers.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2001

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