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Darkane: Inhuman Spirits

It's been a while (9 years to be exact) since Darkane's last studio output. Seems like the guys have been honing and sharpening their craft since then, because their newest release Inhuman Spirits is a rousing, intense, and damn fine slab of melodic death metal. Seems like this style is having a bit of a resurgence over the last few years, eh?

Darkane deliver a familiar, but distinct strain of Gothenburgian metal. It of course features the patented "Iron Maiden turned up to 11" harmonies and growls, but there's an undeniable intensity and musicianship in the band's conveyance of the style that is pretty damn unique for the genre. While certainly melodic, the band is never syrupy sweet or "happy" sounding by any stretch. There's a darkness here, and you'll find more tidbits of extreme/thrash metal than you will hear from most of their contemporaries. There are some keyboards here as well, but they are of a much more apocalyptic and demonic weight than the bleeps and bloops of their more radio friendly (by metal standards) contemporaries. What all this brings to Inhuman Spirts is an oppressive and intense overall sound, and it still manages to be a varied and engaging listen, with plenty of hills and valleys.

The lead off single and title track "Inhuman Spirits" is immediate and should give you a great idea of what to expect from the album as a whole. A bludgeoning typhoon of technical and note dense, percussive riffage with plenty of dark and atmospheric keys during the chorus. It's pretty bad ass. "Awakening" pulls a bit more from the extreme side of things; the vocals of Lawrence Mackrory are much more typical of a brutal death metal band in parts here than the more shouty/thrashy delivery of the previous track. Of course, in complete contrast the solo section is hyper-melodic and harmonized, because that's the name of the game when it comes to melodic death metal.

There's some tracks on Inhuman Spirits that very clearly wear the band's thrashy influences on their sleeves as well. Tracks like "Embrace the Flames" almost have more in common with Kreator than At The Gates, and there's plenty of that high top sneaker appreciation on display throughout the album. The eclectic nature of the album should allow Inhuman Spirits to appeal to a wide swath of the metal crowd, which is a triumph for the band.

The high point of the album for me is "Mansion of Torture". While not the most inspired of titles, the track is basically a greatest hits of all the influences and strengths found on Inhuman Spirits. Thrashy verses, super technical harmonized riffs, and a darkly melodic and keyboard laced chorus make it a real standout. A close second place would go to the one-two punch of final tracks "The Great Deceiver" and "Vålnader". The former being a blistering and intense speedster with an earworm of a chorus, and the latter being a somber and haunting piano sendoff. Good stuff.

The whole album is pretty damn strong and rewarding though, with plenty of moments that will elicit a good expletive or two from the listener. Darkane were clearly inspired for this release and it's been well worth the 9 year wait. With any luck, the next one won't be quite as far off.

1. Inhuman Spirits
2. Awakening
3. Embrace the Flames
4. Conspiracies of the Flesh
5. Inhaling Mental Chaos
6. Mansion of Torture
7. The Quintessence of Evil
8. A Spiral to Nothing
9. The Great Deceiver
10. Vålnader

Added: June 14th 2022
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 421
Language: english

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