Darkane - Expanding Senses
Nuclear Blast
Cyber Thrash Metal
9 songs (40'13)
Release year: 0
Darkane, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Crims
Album of the month

Darkane released a very impressive debut with Rusted Angel, but after a vocal change the second CD Insanity, was a disappointment compared to the debut. However, Darkane learned from their mistakes and realized the problems with Insanity and released a very worthy and proper follow up to Rusted Angel as far as quality songs go (not in style).

Rusted Angel was largely a very intense release, and for the most part so was Insanity, but with the opening track Innocence Gone, you think you might be listening to Soilwork with the crunchy riffs, atmospheric keys, and rhythm heavy drumming. This is an aspect that will appear on a regular basis on Expanding Senses, especially the keys. Comparisons to Soilwork’s A Predator’s Portrait are definitely warranted, but only for certain aspects of the release. Despite the Soilwork influenced opening moments of Innocence Gone, the rest of the song has that now classic Darkane feel; for the uneducated, Darkane’s music can be described a brutal mix (most of the time) of Death and Thrash, with a noticeably futuristic feel. Anyway, back to the review of Expanding Senses: I suppose the best way to describe this release is variation. Nobody is a fan of all the songs sounding the same or having all the songs following the same song writing principles… to a certain extent. So that is why I was very impressed with Expanding Senses, because Darkane are offering a lot in terms of song variation. You have the faster tracks full of chops, and then you have mid-paced songs with a lot of guitar crunch (a new aspect of Darkane). And of course, we can’t forget the tracks that mix both and move from brutal to melodic, and back again, while incorporating that atmospheric cyber feel along the way. It must be said though that compared to the last two releases, this isn’t as progressive or chaotic and is actually more straightforward. That’s okay though, because Darkane did set out to do this, and they did a good job with keeping their songs more focused, but not too simple.

There are no bad songs on Expanding Senses, and in fact there are a lot of killer tracks. Solitary Confinement, Imaginary Entity, and Violence From Within are great Darkane tracks, with change ups; great riffs, and did I mention- great vocals? That’s correct, after a somewhat lack luster but promising vocal performance on Insanity by Andreas Sydow, we have here a very much improved and stand out performance from Sydow this time around. Sydow sounds more and more like ex-vocalist Lawrence Mackrory on this release, and much like Mackrory, Sydow goes form growled vocals, to a raspy thrash style, and to Soilwork styled clean vocals. Even though Sydow is more or less copying Mackrory, this is the best vocal style for this band, and therefore I couldn’t be more pleased with Sydow's performance. Peter Wildoer is one of the best drummers in metal and unfortunately he has calmed down and is more controlled on this release. Every once in awhile he shows that amazing cymbal work from the last two releases and those insane fills, but for the most part he sticks to precise and quick drum patterns that are semi-technical and then he will eventually show his former self. I’m not saying his drum performance is bad, it is just more controlled, and in a way it fits the bands newfound song writing aspects. The riffs and leads are once again very good thanks to Christofer Malmstrom and Klas Ideberg (as they have to be since Darkane is very riff heavy), and the bass work from Jorgen Lofberg is audible and impressive; so the production is very good, with the right amount of crunch with the instruments properly mixed.

I’ve read the odd bad review for this, but the majority tends to agree with me. I suppose if a more straight forward approach for Darkane, or a at times, slower approach, doesn’t appeal to you then you may not like it, but I think most Darkane fans will really enjoy this. For people wanting to get into Darkane, get Rusted Angel, which is a superior release in my opinion, and then this release; you shouldn’t be disappointed if you’re a fan of the genre.

Killing Songs :
Innocence Gone, Solitary Confinement, Imaginary Entity, Violence From Within, Chaos Vs. Order, and Parasites Of The Unexplained
Crims quoted 92 / 100
Dylan quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Darkane that we have reviewed:
Darkane - Demonic Art reviewed by Thomas and quoted 59 / 100
Darkane - Layers Of Lies reviewed by Kayla and quoted 84 / 100
Darkane - Rusted Angel reviewed by Jay and quoted 98 / 100
Darkane - Insanity reviewed by Danny and quoted 80 / 100
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