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Darkstar Marching Into Oblivion album cover
3.64 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Marching Into Oblivion 5:14
2. Confusion On A Grand Scale 4:38
3. Darkstar 7:09
4. Waiting 3:07
5. Gateway 6:23
6. Out There 3:43
7. A New Beginning 7:49
8. Alone 3:38
9. Alien Christ 5:09

Total time 47:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Dan Rock / Guitars, Sequencing
- Siggi Blasey / Sequencing, Sampling
- Oliver Werner / Drums
- Martin Iordanidis / Bass

Releases information

Institute Of Art Records
Recorded in Germany in 1995 in a renovated WWII bomb shelter!

Thanks to UMUR for the addition
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DARKSTAR Marching Into Oblivion ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(62%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DARKSTAR Marching Into Oblivion reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by aapatsos
4 stars I consider myself lucky to have both Darkstar albums in my possession for a couple of reasons: both records are out of print (rare to find at the moment) and the fact that I am a huge fan of Psychotic Waltz i.e. anything that the band or its former members are involved in lies within my interest areas. Marching Into Oblivion is the first effort of Dan Rock's (guitars, Psychotic Waltz) side project with Siggi Blasey. The recording has taken place during the times that P. Waltz were still active and this is evident from the number of constructive and inspiring ideas flowing throughout the album and the similarities to albums like 'Bleeding'.

Side project instrumental albums are often treated with suspicion, and this album could not have been the exemption to the rule. Carrying over his obvious, distinct playing from previous recordings to this album, Dan Rock incorporates a number of different elements to make this a one-of-a-kind effort. The sound is influenced by late Queensryche but also Mike Oldfield's works (!) and this proves the diversity in the final result. Numerous samplers are included to 'dress' the album with a 'modern' atmosphere, despite the simplicity in the structure and the use of instruments. There are not many sophisticated parts that would compare to early P. Waltz works, but there are several magnificent, melodic compositions that make the project's first effort to stand out in my discography.

There is a lot of sequencing involved and it is obvious that this recording is not about 'crystal' production and accurate virtuosity, but a mixture of some excellent concepts, mainly from Dan Rock and, at a lesser extent, Siggi Blasey. The majority of ideas derive from the guitar riffs, with the keyboards contributing to the final, often melancholic and less often aggressive, outcome. Fans could easily pick out the similarities in the guitar work between this recording and the last two P. Waltz albums. Whilst the majority of the tracks is following a more-or-less similar pattern, the only one that can make you feel uninterested is A New Beginning, consisting of a slow tribal rhythm and a repetitive sample. Overall, I consider this a 'hidden' gem of experimental/prog metal.

Putting my best effort to escape my subjective views, this is essential for P. Waltz fans and a worth-mentioning inclusion to your prog-metal discography.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Marching Into Oblivion" is the debut full-length studio album by US/German progressive metal act Darkstar. The album was released through Institute Of Art Records in 1995. Darkstar is a project initiated by Siggi Blasey (Sequencing, Sampling) from German progressive metal act End Amen and guitarist Dan Rock from US progressive metal act Psychotic Waltz. Oliver Werner performs drums to the album and Martin Iordanidis plays the bass. Travis Smith is responsible for the very time typical computer crafted cover artwork as he also was on the "Bleeding (1996)" album by Psychotic Waltz. Thereīs a dark sci-fi atmosphere to the cover artwork (and the 20 page booklet), which suits the material featured on the album perfectly.

The origin of Darkstar is that Dan Rock vocalist/guitarist Uwe Osterlehner (Deathrow) during Psychotic Waltz 1992 european tour supporting their "Into the Everflow (1992)" album. Psychotic Waltz toured with German technical thrash metal act Deathrow who supported their "Life Beyond (1992)" album. The two musicians formed the End Amen project, which released "Your Last Orison" album in 1992. End Amen also featured Siggi Blasey in the lineup and thatīs how Siggi Blasey and Dan Rock met (The close ties to the End Amen project are further strengthened when listening to the opening title track on "Marching Into Oblivion", which share both samples and a few other ideas from the "End Amen" track off the "Your Last Orison (1992)" album).

A couple of years later Siggi Blasey and Dan Rock formed Darkstar and recorded the material for what was to become "Marching Into Oblivion". Recorded in Germany in 1995 in a renovated WWII bomb shelter, the album showcases the two musicians mutual interest in ambient and synth heavy progressive metal. "Marching Into Oblivion" was recorded while Dan Rock was still active in Psychotic Waltz, and it was sold from the merchandise stand on that actīs 1996 tour supporting "Bleeding (1996)".

The music on "Marching Into Oblivion" is as mentioned above ambient (occasionally touching new age territory) and synth heavy instrumental progressive metal. A big part of the sound on the album is the use of samples, synths, and sequencing. Dan Rockīs guitar riff style from the two Psychotic Waltz albums "Mosquito (1994)" and "Bleeding (1996)" do come to mind while listening to "Marching Into Oblivion" but the material on the album is generally a bit more simple and repetitive than anything Psychotic Waltz ever released. The ambient sound occasionally reminds me of artists like Mike Oldfield and Robert Miles. The music is generally very melodic, with dreamy and epic guitar themes and swirling spacey synths.

Although the music, at least to some extent, is progressive metal you shouldnīt expect adventurous rhythms, complex song structures, or too much heavy riffing (itīs occasionally pretty heavy though). Instead this is atmospheric and melodic, quite repetitive, yet very innovative and rather unique. Dan Rock is not only a technically highly skilled guitarist but also a very creative one, and his playing on this album is in his trademark style. Lots of use of the vibrato arm and sliding notes which give the music a laid back floating sound. The sequencing, and the extensive use of synths and samples, provide the music with a melancholic and at times relatively dark atmosphere.

The sample from the "Aliens (1986)" film, which is used in the title track, where Sigourney Weaver screams at the top of her lungs: "Bishop! God Damn You!", is very effective. There are also other samples from the film featured on that track. "Confusion On A Grand Scale" features several samples from the Jonestown tragedy, and not only is it one of the heaviest tracks on the album, those voice samples really give the song an eerie feel. Other standout tracks on the album are the dark ambient "A New Beginning" which have some repetitive tribal type drums. Itīs a very repetitive and ambient dark track, which works really well. "Alone" is another strong track which is a powerful and melodic highlight and the "Darkstar" track deserves a mention too.

While the synths, the sequencing, and the samples work to perfection, and the virtuoso guitar playing by Dan Rock elevates the music to an even higher level, I canīt say the same about the rhythm section. They quite frankly play some really simple and repetitive rhythms and bass lines, which arenīt that interesting. It sometimes sounds like the drums are an afterthought, and that not much creative hours have been put into creating the rhythm patterns. So if I have to mention a minor issue regarding "Marching Into Oblivion", itīs definitely that part of the album, which comes to mind.

The sound production is multilayered and quite intense. Again thereīs an issue with the drums though which features a sound which lacks dynamics, and which overall just doesnīt fit with the rest of the music. The bass is too low in the mix and simply drowns in the multible layers of synth, sequencing, samples and guitars. So "Marching Into Oblivion" isnīt a perfect album by any means, but the minor issues aside the music is still for the most part innovative and often quite beautiful dark ambient progressive metal. Darkstar have a unique sound and thatīs always a plus. Itīs the kind of album that can be used both as background music and as a more focused listening experience. So it features a good balance between pleasant atmosphere and intriguing complexity. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

Review by Bonnek
3 stars After the demise of the great Psychotic Waltz, every output from the individual members was anticipated with an almost holy fire. Unfortunately, none of the projects came near to what they created under the banner of the original band. Devon Grave's Dead Soul Tribe was lacking greatly in the musical department, Dan Rock's side-project Darkstar missed emotive power.

The album is not without merit though. At least if we try to forget that looming presence of Psychotic Waltz that comes spooking here with every wailing guitar tone that Dan Rock bends and weaves into his typical liquid patterns. The two opening tracks are great instrumental metal tracks, featuring rich guitar textures, solos and lots of dark cinematic ambience. Also the keyboards play a prominent role. They add context and atmosphere and refrain from obtrusive soloing. As a reference, the way Faith No More incorporated new wave-styled keyboards into metal comes to mind.

By the time Darkstar gets going, it's impossible to ignore that this album suffers from a number of deficiencies. The first is the similar approach to each track. The band lacks the compositional skill and imagination to step out of the pattern that is carved by the opening tracks. Even if a track like Gateway is a beautiful atmospheric piece by itself, the album becomes a bit of a drag. A second point that brings it down is the repetitive tempo of all tracks. The drumming is not only too monotonous but also lacks the groove to make repetition into something entrancing. As a lover of progressive electronic I can totally dig a 30 minute continuous pace in music, but only if it has the ardor to make it entrancing. That effect is never obtained here.

Overall this is a competent and attractive album with a unique dark melodious sound. With more attention to rhythm and dynamics it could have been a 4 star.

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