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DARXTAR

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Sweden


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Darxtar biography
Swedish outfit DARXTAR was initially formed as a one man project by K. Sören Bengtsson, in an attempt to relive early 1970's style space rock; with Hawkwind as a particular influence. About halfway during the recording of the debut album Juha Nurmenniemi joins Bengtsson, and early in 1991 this duo issue the self-titled album "Darxtar".

The band starts recording their sophomore effort in 1991, in between a re-release of the debut album on CD towards the end of the year. In 1992 Patric Danielsson (drums) joins the band, but too late to have much input on the 1993 release "Darker", which was finished by the time he joined this outfit - belatedly released due to problems in finding a label that wanted to release the album.

Later in 1993 Fredrik Sundquist (violin) hooks up with Darxtar, and soon after Sören Mårtensson joins as well; and with this the band now has a line-up that can perform live.

In the fall of 1994 third album "Daybreak" is made available to the genera public; the first production with a full fledged band recording. The album is very well received, by some regarded as a classic in the genre.

Line-up changes are afoot in 1994 as well, as Nurmenniemi and Sundquist leaves the band; while Marcus Pehrsson (bass, vocals) hooks up with the band soon after. 1995 sees the band working on two albums; a follow-up to "Daybreak", requested by Italian label Black Widow Records and a science fiction themed concept album. The former is recorded in a few hectic weeks, while the latter is a production that will take quite a lot of time to finish off. In the same year Darxtar agree to be the backing band for former Hawkwind member Nik Turner at a concert; a gig which eventually leads to a limited edition unofficial release in 1997 - dubbed Hawxtar.

In 1996 Black Widow gets to release the album they requested, "SJU". This album is not regarded as a major production by the members of Darxtar though, at this time heavily immersed in their conceptual project which they have chosen to call "Tombola". They continue to develop this theme album in the following years; besides contributing to various tribute albums.

Late in 2001 "Tombola" finally see the light of day, 6 years in the making. Swedish label Record Heaven decides to take the chance to release this production, which turns out to be a good decision by them. The album does get a positive reception; and sales are good. Being out of the lim...
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Aged To PerfectionAged To Perfection
Import
recheaven 2012
Audio CD$6.20
$27.32 (used)
DarxtarDarxtar
Import
Uni 1995
Audio CD$36.01 (used)
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DARXTAR discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DARXTAR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 9 ratings
Darxtar
1991
3.22 | 9 ratings
Darker
1993
3.38 | 8 ratings
Daybreak
1994
3.31 | 10 ratings
SJU
1996
3.50 | 10 ratings
Tombola
2001
3.24 | 8 ratings
We Came Too Late
2005
3.50 | 8 ratings
Aged To Perfection
2012

DARXTAR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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DARXTAR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tombola by DARXTAR album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.50 | 10 ratings

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Tombola
Darxtar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars It has been a long time since I have heard from DarXtar, the last being when I reviewed 'Sju' back in #35 (1996) and it is some surprise to discover that this is the first full-length album since then. I have always viewed them very favourably and thought that within the realms of space rock there were few bands that could touch them. That viewpoint has been reinforced with the release of 'Tombola' which was completed as long ago as 1998 but has taken until last year to seethe light of day. Apparently they are now starting on their next project which they are determined will not take as long to be released.

DarXtar are still very influenced by Hawkwind (and have recorded with Nik Turner in the past) and songs such as "Compromised Space" contain passages that are so close to their sound that a Hawkfan would say that they were previously unheard recordings by them. But there are also strong elements of Floyd and even at times The Beatles which make this the strongest release of theirs to date. They admit that this has been overdubbed many times and is certainly multi-layered with the band using many different instruments to create a sound that is both unique and highly recognisable.

Although it is an album that may only appeal to a few it is a space rock album of some considerable strength and one that I have enjoyed playing immensely. I urge all fans of the genre to check this out immediately, if not sooner.

Originally appeared in Feedback #71, Dec 02

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 Aged To Perfection by DARXTAR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.50 | 8 ratings

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Aged To Perfection
Darxtar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Swedish band DARXTAR has a history going back to the start of the 1990's and was initially a band that sought to revive space rock as it was made in the 1970's, with Hawkwind as a distinct and stated influence. A total of seven full length studio productions have seen the light of day since then, of which "Aged to Perfection" is the most recent. An album seven years in the making which was released by Swedish label Transubstans Records in the spring of 2012.

One aspect of this disc that is a striking feature right away is the lack of distinct references to Hawkwind's brand of space rock, and in particular the 70's sound that was so inspirational in the early stages of Darxtar's history as a recording artist. The harder edged riffs, pumping bass and spaced out, energetic or intense atmospheres of early Hawkwind are just about non-existent. As far as resemblances go in that direction, they are closer to what Brock and his crew explored on "Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music", although without any direct references as such. Just about the only instance where we're treated to a sound and atmosphere comparable with the early ideals of Darxtar is on Tired Nature, and even there the classic space rock style is explored in more of a careful and subdued manner.

Title track Aged to Perfection crystallize the extreme of what this album is all about I guess. A composition based on a basic acoustic guitar and vocals arrangement, careful and dampened in expression, surrounded by a careful arrangement consisting of rhythms, futuristic sounds and fleeting violin textures. And while the core foundation of the following compositions all deviate from this one, the surrounding arrangements are of a fairly identical nature throughout, in construction as well as intensity.

As this disc unfolds, associations to Pink Floyd starts appearing pretty soon. The subdued, careful nature of the themes and arrangements and the effective use of darker textures increasingly points in that direction, with In Time as the most distinct example. But a take on their sound generally void of any major dramatic excursions, stark contrasts and majestic soundscapes. Think mellow late 70's Pink Floyd, flavoured with gentle ethereal violin textures and just as gentle futuristic synths and sound effects. And with a nice and efficient use of organ backing textures.

For final piece Fiska På Grasmattan Darxtar pulls out in a slightly different direction again though, ending this disc with an epic length, improvisational affair. Again a construction that merits descriptions along the lines of careful and gentle, with a steady repeating rhythms foundation and dampened more or less fragmented instrument constellations employed in a creative and less structured manner on top.

In sum this makes for a production that explore the gentler parts of the space rock subgenre. An almost lazy, slightly detached overall sound, where the edges are as soft as the contrasts and the arrangements are dominated by nuanced effects of an ethereal fragmented character rather than a majestic and dominating presence. An album that invites and inspire to careful and deliberate reflection of an introspective kind rather than whisking the listener away on adventurous journeys into inner or outer space. An album that merits a check by those who feel that mellow space rock sounds like an interesting product to investigate.

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 Aged To Perfection by DARXTAR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.50 | 8 ratings

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Aged To Perfection
Darxtar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Aged To Perfection ... wow, this sounds like an ambitious appeal. DARXTAR are underway for more than 20 years now and this one is their seventh effort in the meanwhile, the first though to be released on the famous nordic Transubstans/Record Heaven record label. I would say they've never been present on a very experimental path and always give a secure clue where the main influences are coming from. However, as for the compositional attempt they are on the peak here - this surely sounds matured compared to 'Sju' for example ... and - since dealing with the future of mankind - more serious overall.

Again a bunch of twittering as well as soaring synths are proper compagnions when exploring the whole album. They are implying some southern rock feel first, but then Mörkret 2 immediately afterwards reflects their experimental approach, it's a contrary spooky/spacey piece which leads into some Hawkwind adapted soul called Tired Nature - a centerpiece by all means, there's some exciting jamming appeal implemented. In A Time comes Pink Floyd reminiscent, the violin though serves a different flavour. Finally Fiska På Gräsmattan marks the album's highlight, a flamboyant epic, especially manifested during the second half while showcasing a floating jam including wonderful rhodes piano.

Artistic freedom - the DARXTAR crew have written, recorded, mixed and produced all by themselves. Well, that means, there's been no pressure, they took seven years to come with a new one. Thus you can hear ripe beauty, especially on the aforementioned two extended tracks. Besides some proper straigthforward rocking moments nice relaxed and melancholic parts are dominating. So please direct your attention on those subtle violin and saxophone contributions for example - excellent! An enjoyable album, easily reaching for the Hawkwind and Omnia Opera level - I strongly recommend to use headphones in order to pick up this ambience in full.

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 We Came Too Late by DARXTAR album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.24 | 8 ratings

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We Came Too Late
Darxtar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by progadicto

3 stars It's an honor for me to be the first reviewer of this album because is an interesting psychedelic work.

From the hard and catchy opener "Pitiful Whining" (full of reminiscences of Hawkwind Psych-era) to the last notes of "Take It", that reminds Pink Floyd 70's floating tracks, the album is an enjoyable bunch of songs that keeps the listener with the ears open wide perhaps is not an original album but there's one important reason why this album is simply good: just because is a fine psych/space rock album. That's all.

There's no big suprises: heavy guitar riffs, good lyrics, catchy rhythms, floating sections... But in between there are some highlights:

-Pitiful Whining: As I said, a great opener full of 70's psych influences.

-We Came Too Late: Maybe the top 1 of the album. A slow rhythmical song close to a 70's heavy rock ballad with spacy melodies.

-It All Happens Here: Another song a la Hawkwind. Really proggy and catchy.

-Another Kind Of Vibe: Thrilling. Mixes the classic late 60's psych arrangements with the actual influences in the genre. Heavy but floating.

It deserves some attention. Not a masterpiece but every track has some kind of retro catchy magic... Give it a chance... You wouldn't be dissapointed... 3*

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 Tombola by DARXTAR album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.50 | 10 ratings

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Tombola
Darxtar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This recording sounds so different from the debut. Lots of vocals on this album and it's not as spacey or heavy as their amazing first record. By the way the drummer thanks Bonzo, Bruford, Moon and Kate Bush among others.

"Silently Driftin'" opens with clanging noises that come and go. A laid back melody takes over. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. Mandolin 2 minutes in. It kicks in before 3 1/2 minutes. The sound of a siren can be heard. "Blue Frozen Flame" opens with guitar before the drums take over. Then vocals and organ join in. "High On Hopes" has a good soundscape with relaxed guitar but i'm not a fan of the vocals. The guitarist starts to rip it up after 2 minutes. "Aura Fiducia" opens with the wind blowing as the guitar comes in then vocals. Violin 3 1/2 minutes in. It ends with whistling. "No Peak To Pass" is pretty heavy with some attitude. "Compromised Space" is led by drums and vocals early. A nice spacey soundscape takes over 4 minutes in although the vocals aren't the best. It's building. Great sound 5 1/2 minutes in.

"Healin' Skin" almost has a Country flavour to it with harmonica. Not a fan although it changes after 3 minutes with some good guitar. "Breath Messages" opens and closes with the sounds of someone breathing. I like the sound of this one when it gets going. Kind of dark with violin and vocals. "In The Spiral" has the focus squarely on the vocals. Spacey synths later. Not a fan of this one. "Ode To The Undone" is a good song. I like the violin and vocals on this laid back tune. "The Tunnel Inversion" turns heavy quickly as the mood and tempo continue to change. "Baby Gaia" is catchy but when the vocals come in it's not nearly as good. "Tombola" is such a good song probably my favourite. Laid back with sax late. I swear I hear mellotron in this one as well.

Overall this is barely 3 stars. My favourite style of Psychedelic music is more in line with their debut.

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 SJU by DARXTAR album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.31 | 10 ratings

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SJU
Darxtar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

3 stars 'Sju' is the swedish counterpart to 'Seven' - but the album contains five songs though with a quite spacey fundament in the whole. Especially keyboards/synthesizer are providing a cosmic feeling. It's a mix of dreamy and heavy rocking elements where some songs are evolving a tribute character with distinctive reminiscences - on purpose I would say.

The straightforward This Alien Nation for example reminds me of New Model Army a lot. A typical heavy rocking piece with shouter qualities. Not to say that this is simply plagiarizing because they also add spacey effects produced by synthesizer. It's Enough and Eastern Wind on the other hand are appearing as an unique DARXTAR heavy psych prog output - full of suspense because containing breaks and turns where the latter is also presented with jamming character.

The short and fulminant album opener Obstakel will probably confuse a little bit at a first glance because sounding like out of range with a heavy eclectic touch. But then the band around guitarist Sören Bengtsson immediately changes the mood with the long title track '7'. A Pink Floyd tribute and this reminds me of the german RPWL too, but it's little more spacey in the whole because of the twittering synths. A relaxed meditative song containing great sensitive guitar work with some Gilmour reminscences. This can be definitely considered as the album's highlight.

'Sju' offers a successful dreamy floydy long track of more than sixteen minutes and is also quite interesting to check out for Hawkwind fans because of the preference on heavy space rock.

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 Darxtar by DARXTAR album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.75 | 9 ratings

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Darxtar
Darxtar Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars.The recent addition of SIDDHARTHA and DARXTAR has made me very happy. Two incredible Psychedelic / Space Rock bands. This is DARXTAR's debut and they were basically a duo at this point. I should mention that this Swedish band dedicates this record to the memory of Robert Calvert who passed away in 1988 at the age of 43. And yes this particular album is very much HAWKWIND inspired. They threw me a curve with the tracklisting. It shows seven songs, but they're really 1A-1G so even as the album comes to a close we're still on track 1. Anyway I think i've got it figured out even though the songs blend together.

"The Traveller" has this good heavy sound as vocals join in. It settles before 2 1/2 minutes but not for long as the guitar comes in just lighting it up after 3 minutes. Vocals are back and the song ends after 4 1/2 minutes as it turns very spacey and blends into "I Wish To Explain". Spacey winds continue and eerie sounds come and go before whispered vocals arrive. It eventually kicks in with drums and guitar as the winds continue to blow. The guitar soars and then it settles a minute later.The winds haven't stopped. "Aberrant Station" opens with synths before 12 1/2 minutes as a HAWKWIND-like rhythm takes over. A great uptempo track with vocals. "Live To Live" at 16 1/2 minutes features strummed guitar and spacey winds. Spoken words and a beat come in before it kicks into gear.Incredible sound ! The contrasts continue. Check out the organ when it kicks back in a second time.

"Bevis On The Radio" at 21 1/2 minutes is my favourite song on here, it opens with relaxed guitar sounds that come and go. Drums and a fuller sound take over with tasteful guitar. Reserved vocals come in. Nice bass. This is so emotional when the vocals get more passionate and the guitar gets heavier. A gorgeous guitar solo 30 minutes in. "The Distant Sun" opens before 35 minutes with some nice raw guitar sounds as vocals come in. This one has a HAWKWIND flavour to it. A ripping guitar solo goes on and on. The guitar is back again late lighting it up. Fantastic song ! "Wings" comes in after 40 minutes with spacey winds and acoustic guitar as reserved vocals join in. Love this song as well.

The last half of this album is just killer ! The whole thing is so good though. My kind of music.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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