Darkened EP The New Wave of British Grind !!!

… well, whilst I’ve been playing the new As The World Dies ‘Demo’ and patiently await news of new Memoriam inbound – whilst late to the party, I tracked down a brand new copy of the now ‘sold out’ Darkened EP !!!

Darkened are somewhat of a ‘supergroup’ comprised of a global ensemble featuring the inimitable Andy Whale on drums (ex Bolt Thrower/Memoriam) Hempa Brynolfsson (Excruciate/Ordo Infernus) and Linus Nirbrant on guitars – bass is from Daryl Kahan (Funebrarum) and vocal annihilation courtesy of Gord Olson !!!

Formed in early 2018 their debut EP exploded onto an unsuspecting audience in 2019 via Edged Circle Productions

Behold, it’s a staggeringly brutally titanic offering, bundled full of gigantic riffs, pneumatically pounding drums, groove laden bass lines and tortured grit, gravel skewed vocals …

To right this off as simply a death or black metal side project would trite and unfair. It’s far warmer, richer in production, has a groove and rhythm far beyond many of their contemporaries – this is essential …

Andy Whale (Bolt Thrower/Memoriam) clearly hasn’t slowed or diminished with time, if anything he’s more accomplished ever than before and some of the acrobatics tempo wise, as recently witnessed live with Memoriam UK, are, absolutely stunning. I’d even argue this drives the EP and is the heart, soul and engine of this pristine ‘killing machine’ !!!

Not withstanding the vocal performance is perfectly matched to the three tracks debuted here, a bravura and confidence, which adds fuel to an arguably stale style, and pitches and yaws with ease along with each track adding subtle inflection and texture to each song giving them individuality and personality whilst providing an over arching connecting thread …

The guitars, the riffs in fact are given no end of room to breathe and move around without impediment. All too often a track will lock in to a colossal groove or break into a stunning riff only to be cut short to give way all too quickly to the next verse or chorus, not here, and this has plenty of crunch and chug !!!

The leads are esoterically flavored, almost middle eastern in character, whilst oh so short they are very sweet, and instantly reminded me of Rocky George’s soulful work on Suicidal Tendencies Lights, Camera, Revolution !!!

Last but not least, an absolute solid wall of low end bass, powers along with the drums, fleshing out the guitars and give a real sense of depth and warmth to each and every track with real groove …

The fourth track ‘Unredeemed’ best exemplifies this very ethos – Post 02.15 minutes after soulfully mournful lead break the bass and guitars lock into a crushing myriad of heavy laden rhythmic riff that will simply blow your mind. This serves in the absence of older bands and younger upstarts that this, is what fans want – old school with a very contemporary production value, this makes the EP worth having alone !!!

This is a clear contender for what is clearly going to be a new wave of heavy music – 10/10 from me !!!

If I had to pick a track, I’d go for The Offering if only because I can’t choose between the other two, and the breakdown parts on this one absolutely melted my heart !!!

Be sure to head on over to their Big Cartel store and show em’ some support – S23