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Album Reviews : Darker Half – Never Surrender

By on July 11, 2014

Darker Half are on the rise and are a breath of fresh air in the current Australia metal scene with its heavy focus on death metal (not that this is necessarily a bad thing). There are sources categorizing the Sydney four piece as a thrash metal band, but I would definitely class the new album Never Surrender as a trad metal album with a heavy dose of power metal. The band seem to acknowledge this with the cover art featuring a metal eagle eerily similar to that gracing the cover of Judas Priest‘s Screaming for Vengeance.

Never Surrender kicks off with opening track Nemesis with its wonderfully heavy riff, harmonised vocal passages and a wail that would fit perfectly into the Ripper era of Iced Earth. This trend is continued throughout the album to create a very nostalgic late 90’s/early 00’s power metal album. I almost feel like the space themed song (Lost in Space) is thrown in for those missing the late 90’s era Gamma Ray. The album wraps up nicely with the organ driven mid tempo Anthem for a Doomed Youth which will provide many fist pumping moments for years to come.

Being Darker Half’s third album, the boys have unquestionably matured in their song writing and general mastery of their instruments. The leap from the last album Desensitize to this year’s offering is significant in terms of tighter riffs, groovier twin guitar solos and consistently solid drumming. Production-wise there is nothing to complain about, except maybe the bass being a little too buried in the mix but this is a fairly common (albeit annoying) trait of power metal.

While I have thoroughly enjoyed this album (and plan to for some time) there is something missing that is stopping it from becoming truly fantastic. There are plenty of excellent songs scattered throughout, but none quite get the adrenaline pumping quite like they should whether due to lack of intensity or lacklustre riff.

It is very obvious from their work so far that Darker Half love what they do and if they step it up once more for the next album they could be looking at something really special.

Band: Darker Half
Album: Never Surrender
Year: 2014
Genre: Heavy/Traditional Metal
Label: Rockstar Records
Origin: Sydney, NSW

1. Nemesis
2. Never Surrender
3. End of the Line
4. Stranger
5. As Darkness Fades
6. Duality
7. Blinded By Darkness
8. Lost In Space
9. Heads Are Gonna Roll
10. Anthem for a Doomed Youth