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Darkstar - Heart of Darkness CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.34 | 10 ratings

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Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars Even the initial impressions of this album can give a hint about what is included in the music: a beautiful, obscure cover by Travis Smith, inspired from a work originally by H.R. Giger... Heart of Darkness is the second, and unfortunately last, effort of this project of inspired musicians, which sounds a bit different from their debut. The main reason as described by Dan Rock himself on the official page was ''... the loss of a loved one to drugs, sadly added to the loss of my father in a car accident during the sessions''. Indeed, the sound of the album is covered with 'sadness' and 'grief', but also with even more weird melodies. To the latter, the presence of Brian McAlpin (guitars, ex-Psychotic Waltz) has assisted.

Contrary to their debut, this is not solely an instrumental album. The voices of 4 different vocalists on 3 songs break the 'monotony' (if you can find it here...) of the instrumental tracks. From these, Transitory Angel and Not Today represent the more melodic moments on the record, both being simple in structure but beautiful at the same time. The same happens with The Sound of Nothing which introduces some aggressiveness in the vocals and guitars sections, in the vein of Rage Against the Machine (!!!). The overall sound of the album could be described as 'innovative, experimental sci-fi prog metal'. This is more evident in the tracks where Dan Rock collaborates with Brian McAlpin, which, in my honest opinion, represent the highlights and could have easily been part of P. Waltz works... Flight to Nowhere, The Dream and Look to the Sky are brilliant moments of inspiration, comprising of excellent guitar work, double guitar ''dark winding long harmony solos'' and acoustic/keyboard intervals. All tracks are included in the Dark Millennium compilation, under the name of P. Waltz, which came out the same year.

The rest of the tracks are more keyboard-based, presumably deriving mainly from Siggi Blasey's ideas; not that impressive comparing to the compositions of the two guitarists, but still interesting and experimental, unveiling (yet again) influences from Mike Oldfield. Dark Paradise, the opening track is probably the most attractive of this category. There is also a ''hidden track'' at the end of the album, consisting of a telephone message (the message D. Rock's father left just before he died!) and almost 9 minutes of rain (!). This, along with the 'secret' postscript that D. Rock leaves to his loved one on the official P. Waltz page, make this album a painful, deep, real-life experience; it makes it harder when you know the whole story behind a record.

Musically slightly more complete and more mature than Marching Into Oblivion, I would clearly recommend this album for a first experience with Darkstar to everyone interested in experimental prog-metal. Fans of P. Waltz probably have it in their collection already, with one way or another...

aapatsos | 4/5 |


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