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DARK

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Dark biography
Founded in Northampton, UK in 1968 - Split in 1973 - Regrouped from 1994 to 1997 - Reformed in 2011

Crafting a musical skeleton that has as much in common with British folk as it does with West Coast jam bands, DARK wouldn't be unlike a lot of other psychedelic bands in the late sixties/early seventies. What made them different was one thing: a solid understanding of fuzzy guitar. Rather than merely using the fuzzbox to show off, DARK incorporated it into the build of their songs, laying it across moody, heavy tracks that approached sprawling.
It all began in 1968, when guitarist Steve Giles grabbed other guitarist Martin Weaver, drummer Clive Thorneycroft and bassist Ronald Johnson, and formed Dark at a school in Northhampton. Local touring followed for several years, until, in 1972, the band only produced their first album, the not-quite-as-scary-as-you'd-think "Round the Edges" (occasionally featuring Colin Bush on bass. Go figure).

Only about sixty copies were issued, and original albums remain a collector's item to this day (it has been re-released several times since '72. Obviously, or else I wouldn't have heard it), and has been hailed as the UK's most expensive album. Soon after the album was released, the band broke up, and its members were scattered to the four winds (aka other bands and failed solo projects).

An effort was made at a revival in the early Nineties, which resulted in more local live shows; however, no new album was produced. Despite a couple of records of outtakes, the only true album by this intelligent jam band remains "Round the Edges".

The Whistler - February 2009

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DARK discography


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

3.23 | 40 ratings
Round The Edges
1972
3.91 | 11 ratings
Teenage Angst (The Early Sessions)
1994

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

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DARK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Round The Edges by DARK album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.23 | 40 ratings

BUY
Round The Edges
Dark Heavy Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

3 stars DARK were a short-lived British Psychedelic Rock band based in Northampton, who released just one album before splitting up and going their separate ways. Their super-rare "Round the Edges" (1971) album has now become a real collectors item as there were apparently only sixty private pressings made of the original LP album, which were mainly given away to family and friends of the band. According to the New Musical Express, the album has now become one of the rarest and most valuable records of all time, fetching ridiculous prices of anywhere between 5,000 and 25,000. The album was reissued on CD in 2003 with four bonus tracks added to the original six songs on the album. A compilation album titled "Teenage Angst (The Early Sessions)" was issued on CD in 1993. Let's throw some light on the Dark "Round the Edges" album now and give it a listen.

We journey into the "Darkside" for the album opener, which sounds from the title alone, like it might be some dark satanic number, ala Black Sabbath. It all sounds very ominous, like thunderbolt and lightning, very very frightening, but it's really about the "Darkside" of the moon, so there's no need to have nightmares. This psychedelic music is more Iron Butterfly than Black Sabbath. It's a heavy, rough-and-ready, seven and a half minute fuzzy-toned psychedelic jam. It begins as a sweet strawberry sundae of laid-back psychedelia but gradually turns into an aggressive stormy Monday of way-out heavy guitar riffing, and very good it is too. It's not quite in the same league as "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida", but the music has the same raw earthiness to it. We're dancing around the "Maypole" now for the second song, but don't worry, it's not some airy-fairy nonsense about ridiculous-looking Morris Men making fools of themselves as they dance around the "Maypole." No, this is another high-powered, flower-power psychedelic freak out. In true psychedelic fashion, the bizarre lyrics make no sense at all, so one wonders if these guys were eating magic mushrooms before they wrote the following enigmatic lyrics:- "The elephants were dancing round a maypole and a tree, The dog in front loves the dog behind, just like you and me, The English pub collapses like a pack of English cards, I thought we'd have to die of thirst, instead we'll have to starve." ..... Far out, man! It's time now to "Live for Today", because tomorrow might never come, although we're still here to listen to this album nearly fifty years on, having survived the Cold War together. "Live for Today" is the longest song on the album at just over eight minutes in duration. It begins as a laid-back mellow groove, but there's ample time for a long instrumental freak-out of fuzzy chainsaw guitar riffing to close out Side One.

There's really not much to add about the three songs on Side Two:- "R.C.8", "The Cat" & "Zero Time", other than to say they're all hard and heavy psychedelic fuzz-guitar freak-outs, just like Side One, which might even begin to sound monotonous and repetitive to some ears. The music is very much in the style of the American psychedelic band Blue Cheer, who also have the same raw earthiness to their sound. There are no gentle romantic ballads to break up this album and give it more variety. The album is one long unadulterated jam session of fuzz-guitar Hard Rock from beginning to end although, if you're in the mood for a good old-fashioned non-stop barrage of raw, wild and frenzied Psychedelic Rock, then this trippy album might be just your cup of tea.

Don't be afraid of the Dark, step into the light and take a rainbow-coloured psychedelic trip back in time with the Dark "Round the Edges" album. It might not have the power to give you a temporary altered state of conciousness, but you can still get high on this great music without the aid of any psychedelic substances. This is raw and earthy, back to basics, foot-stomping Psychedelic Rock with no pretensions of grandeur. The album might not appeal to fans of Progressive Rock generally, but it IS an essential album for lovers of classic British Psychedelic Rock, and the rarity value of this lost album treasure alone means it's well-worth giving the album a listen. The original LP album is said to be the "Holy Grail" for record collectors.

 Round The Edges by DARK album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.23 | 40 ratings

BUY
Round The Edges
Dark Heavy Prog

Review by Igor91

4 stars The obscure album by Dark, "Dark Round the Edges" has been both praised and maligned by critics over the years since it's very limited private pressing over 40 years ago. While not all that progressive, it does feature progressive moments, but a more accurate description would be a prog-leaning, 70's psych-rock band. When first listening to this album, the thing that stood out to me was the great sound of Steve Giles' guitar work. Dead Meadow must have had this album somewhere in their collection, for that is what came to mind as I listened. Fat, fuzzed-out, groovy guitar is present in many moments, paired with lighter, cleaner strumming at other times. The vocals are the main weakness here, not bad, but not that good either. However, the songs are well-crafted enough, and the occasional firey guitar stabs of second guitarist Martin Weaver make this album an enjoyable listen. If you are a serious prog-head you may not enjoy this one, but if you like early 70's heavy psych with prog leanings, this is right up your alley. 4 stars.
 Round The Edges by DARK album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.23 | 40 ratings

BUY
Round The Edges
Dark Heavy Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

2 stars There was a time when all things obscure attracted my mind, due to the fact that albums were mysterious, hailing from the mists of time. There are alot of albums deserving a break, since they never made it in the past, but there are those I find that do serve a purpose of reference point. What do I mean? My point is that some bands made music of progressive nature and poured their ideas into the melting pot and thus created some sort of tapestry. All things may not be great but it can still serve a purpose of being interesting. The only album by Dark is such an example.

I bought "Round the edges" several years ago but the music printed into the CD was not all that great, I found. And still find. It is interesting as a moment in time but not groundbreaking. It is an obscurity whose main value lies in the strife of amateur musicians and the will to produce music. The progress of prog is an equally thrilling thing to examine as listening to all the truly great music of the genre.

The music of Dark is certainly sort of heavy. Do not expect it to be in Sabbath mode. Unfortunately a lot of people throw that comparison around when it comes to describing heavyness. It is true, however, that the music could be described as proto-metal, or something like that, but it has more of a jam feeling to it, a jam performed by less competent musicians than the guys in Sabbath. That however is not te reason as to why I find the music less interesting. The overall feel to the music is one of forced, that the music is really not all that thought through. It is a private pressing, so the sound and time spent on recording certainly contributes to the end result. One has to bear that in mind.

I would not really recommend this album to any one in particular. It is obscure and interesting as an image of a time long gone but it really is too amateurish, I think. That need not mean that the music lacks in true power or worth. In this case, however, it makes the end result poor. Not that good but interesting. Sort of.

Thanks to raff for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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