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Darkane: Layers of Lies

Thash meets melodic death metal on the latest release from Sweden's Darkane, another perfect example of the power of this five-piece juggernaut as well as proof that the Swedish metal scene simply is head and shoulders above the rest of the world right now. Here on the band's fourth release, they combine heavy, complex guitar riffs with manic drum work, aggressive vocal shouts, and catchy arrangements. Fans of the instrumental virtuosity of bands like Arch Enemy, Meshuggah, In Flames, Soilwork, and Dark Tranquility who have yet to check out this band need to do so, as Darkane more than provides their own share of musical fireworks on Layers of Lies.

Songs like the lethal title track and the melodic "Vision of Degradation" contain some kick ass crunch in the guitar department thanks to the talent of Christofer Malmstrom and Klas Ideberg, who inject loads of intricate yet mammoth riffage along with soaring dual lead lines. Drummer Peter Wildoer pounds his kit like a man possessed on 'Contaminated", while the heavy bass grooves from Jorgen Loftberg on the killer "Maelstron Crisis" leads into a furious barrage of heavy riffs and vocal screams from singer Andreas Sydow. There's also enough prog-metal styled arrangements and atmospherics, especially on the symphonic "Amnesia Of the Wildoerian Apocalypse" which then leads into the crazed metal shuffle of "Secondary Effects".

This band has chops galore and write some pretty melodic tunes considering the extreme nature of the music. Lovers of complex metal will really dig the furious onslaught that Darkane have created here. Strong stuff indeed, and sure to be one of the best metal releases of the year.

Track Listing
01. Amnesia of the Wildoerian Apocalypse
02. Secondary Effects
03. Organic Canvas
04. Fading Dimensions
05. Layers of Lies
06. Godforsaken Universe
07. Klastrophobic Hibernation
08. Vision of Degradation
09. Contaminated
10. Maelstrom Crisis
11. Decadent Messiah
12. The Creation Insane

Added: December 10th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Darkane Website
Hits: 3465
Language: english

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Darkane: Layers of Lies
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-12-10 15:32:17
My Score:

Darkane's fourth album Layers of Lies is their return to form release, in many ways akin to their debut album Rusted Angel, which is not only their heaviest but also most technical work. Compared to the more melodic Expanding Senses, the new album is a lot more aggressive and intricate in its song arrangements and production. Quite possibly their best work sonically, the sound is massive, the guitar tones are thick and heavy, the drums are perfectly balanced, and the vocal harmonies are gold. Andreas Sydow has a knack for writing some of the catchiest vocal lines within the Swedish thrash/death genre, as he opts for excellent aggressive thrash vocals during the verses and suddenly moves into huge multi-track harmonies in the choruses. In the beginning of "Organic Canvas", he sings very aggressively, almost in an 80's thrash tone, while complex guitar riffs and hyper-fast drums wrap themselves around his demonic tone, but as the main chorus kicks in, we're left alone with a massive wall of sound harmony where his voice is recorded twice brilliantly layered on top of the ominous guitar and keyboard soundscape. The song concludes with an incredible guitar solo. You'd expect Christofer Malmstrom to shred his heart out after such a complex piece, but on the contrary, he plays delicately melodic yet still there is an undeniable aggression in his phrasing. Awesome lead tone too.

Darkane displays sheer brutality in the verse sections of the songs a la Strapping Young Lad meets Biomechanical meets Meshuggah, and abruptly crashes into soaring melodies that constantly shift between brutal screams and gripping harmonies. The moody intro of "Fading Dimensions" shows no sign of what's yet to come or may even mislead the listener. Suddenly epic chunks of guitar riffs begin to build and eventually spiral into death-inflected thrash metal whilst Sydow's vocals during the chorus crash over like a tidal wave. I don't think I've ever heard another band that can create this kind of tension except Devin Townsend's Strapping Young Lad. Also, the guitar work is impeccable here. Malmstrom employs exotic scales on several tunes on this disc, experimenting with whimsical chord progressions and odd guitar tunings. Much like its predecessor, the title track kicks in with dark acoustic arpeggios before diving headlong into the most memorable Darkane chorus to date, sung entirely in clean vocals. The song is punctuated with frequent shifts in time signatures, a full drum sound and deeply tortured screams. There is more exotic guitar stuff on "Godforsaken Universe" and "Vision of Degradation", which are interspersed with a brief instrumental track titled "Klastraphobic Hibernation". The dual lead guitars on "Vision of Degradation" once again betray Darkane's thrash metal roots, as Malmstrom's textural, almost dreamlike playing underlies his love for smooth, melodic songwriting. The following tracks are arguably less intense, or perhaps not as good as the first eight, but still, there's much to be heard on the industrial number "Contaminated", the progressive instrumental "Maelstrom Crises" (with a killer shred solo at the end), and the cold and mechanical "Decadent Messiah", which may be the most complex track on the album. Layers of Lies is sealed with "The Creation Insane", which basically combines Darkane's strongest aspects from precise guitar syncopatiton to blistering drumming and a powerful vocal performance and melts them all into a more old-school type of thrash metal context.

Layers of Lies is an excellent release. Someone called this futuristic thrash. I love that description. This is one of Darkane's finest albums.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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