Darkane - Layers Of Lies
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Death Metal
12 songs (42'50)
Release year: 2005
Darkane, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Kayla

In the beginning, there was At The Gates. And the metal scene saw it, and saw that it was good. And lo, there was melodic death metal. And many other bands started playing this new kind of metal, and soon it became necessary for metal fans to wade through piles of dross to find the awesome music they craved. Fortunately, Darkane makes it easy, masterfully walking the path pioneered by their Swedish brethren while adding their own unique footprints. They’ve created their own sound, harsher and faster than what one normally expects from a melodic death band. They seem to have grown comfortable in this sound; Layers Of Lies delivers a solid piece of melodic death, but one that feels rote at times.

The album opens with a short, mostly instrumental track called, imaginatively enough, Amnesia of the Wildoerian Apocalypse (named for drummer Peter Wildoer). There are two more of these interludes on the album, each incorporating the name of a band member (Klastrophobic Hibernation and Maelstrom Crisis). Amnesia is a good introduction for the album, beginning with a rich, chiming synth chord and a dark, mumbling ascension into a chorus singing what are apparently nonsense words that sounded good paired with the music. The idea sounds a little silly, but it does work musically. The first real song, Secondary Effects, is one of the stronger ones on the album, and a perfect example of Darkane’s sound. It starts off with a driving lead right on the heels of the last note of Amnesia, into a fast-paced, frenetic, choppy melody that suddenly gives way to a soaring, thickly-layered chorus. Jörgen Löfberg helps drive the song with a snarling bass line that would just as soon rip your throat out as look at you.

Thus the album continues. If a song doesn’t open with a driving lead, it opens with a tumbling one – perhaps meant to represent the tumble into insanity, which is a common lyrical theme for Darkane. The only real variation comes in the use of what sounds like bits of rusty machinery to create a "ratcheting" effect in Layers Of Lies and The Creation Insane. As the guitars already have a crunchy, brittle sound to them, like metal scraping against metal, this creates an interesting layered effect. Andreas Sydow’s vocals are a peculiar screechy growl that mirror the flow of the songs, going from a deeper, more staccato rhythm during the verses to longer, slightly more smoothed-out notes during the choruses.

While Layers Of Lies starts out quite strong, it starts to lose steam around the midpoint of the album. Although Darkane’s sound is unique enough that their songs don’t feel generic to the genre as a whole, taken as examples of their own body of work, there’s nothing to make them stand out. Strangely enough, the choruses consistently suffer the most, sounding thinner and more monotone, and just don’t seem to be able to get up the energy to soar like their predecessors. If this was an attempt to create variety, it unfortunately seems like a failed attempt to continue the epic feel that opened the album. The weakest part of the album is the ending; there’s nothing about The Creation Insane that makes it a closer, and, in fact, it stops quite abruptly, leaving the listener to scratch their head and ask, “Is that it?”

Unfortunately, this causes Layers Of Lies to fall a bit short when measured against their previous efforts. Both Rusted Angel and Expanding Senses manage to keep from falling into the kind of nondescript repetition found at the end of Layers Of Lies, both with a little more variety in the sound from song to song, and, especially in the case of Rusted Angel, a higher overall quality. Both albums also end with what feels like an ending, Rusted Angel with a heavy riff fading into a wordless chorus at the end of Frenetic Visions and Expanding Senses with another “ratcheting” riff that gives way to a sonar-like sound.

Still a cut above the melodeath crowd, Darkane haven’t managed to push it to the level they’ve reached previously. Layers Of Lies is a solid album, certainly one that fans of the genre will love, but if it’s your first foray into the band’s discography, better to pick up Rusted Angel or Expanding Senses first.

Killing Songs :
Secondary Effects, Organic Canvas, Fading Dimensions, Layers Of Lies
Kayla quoted 84 / 100
Ken quoted 75 / 100
Dylan quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Darkane that we have reviewed:
Darkane - Demonic Art reviewed by Thomas and quoted 59 / 100
Darkane - Rusted Angel reviewed by Jay and quoted 98 / 100
Darkane - Expanding Senses reviewed by Crims and quoted 92 / 100
Darkane - Insanity reviewed by Danny and quoted 80 / 100
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