Review: Darkane

“Expanding Senses”
(Nuclear Blast)

Darkane have matured greatly since last year’s “Insanity.”  The first track on “Expanding Senses” finds the band working in much more traditional metal territory as opposed to their usual death metal antics.  The vocalist goes for more of a militaristic shouting down style of vocals and the guitars and drums churn out some heavy mid-tempo passages. This formula is then blasted into a thousand points of deathly light as the band effortlessly slips into the speed demonizing and more deathly vocals they’re known for spitting up in the past.

I don’t know what happened to Darkane but this album is far superior in every way from “Insanity.”  The writing has improved, song arrangements have gone from bland to bad-ass, the vocals are stronger and have borrowed a page from the book of Burton C. (Fear Factory) Bell with soaring operatic moments breaking soulfully away from the mechanized drum rhythms.  Even the album cover art is vastly more intelligent and thought provoking than the their last effort’s cover art.  If you can’t quite tell by the cover’s reproduction up on the left there, it appears to be of two semi-clad religious mystics who have managed to jam their heads into a fourth spatial dimension.  One of the mystics seems to have died from the experience whereas the other sorry fellow is alive but in agony.

This album is guaranteed to draw major comparisons to early Fear Factory, but that won’t be quite fair to Darkane who don’t use the guitar looping and piles of electronic studio trickery like the aforementioned group.  This is Darkane’s breakout recording and should be sought out and experienced by fans of metal from Kornish Fear factor fans on over to speedier deathlier freaks.