Doomriders - Darkness Come Alive
Deathwish Inc.
Noise Punk
17 songs (46:10)
Release year: 2009
Deathwish Inc.
Reviewed by Phil

Highly anticipated doesn’t begin to describe it. I don’t remember how I heard of the Doomriders; I just know I did. I grabbed the first album. I listened to it…a lot. It’s a true wreck of a rock album for our reckless age. It seethed with intensity, attitude and, believe it or not, fun. This was a band that remembered that rock ‘n’ roll was, in its infancy, party music. Cue 2009. Things are different now. The new Doomriders album, Darkness Come Alive, is upon us, and I can’t decide if it’s what I expected or not. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a snarling beast…all fangs, fur and fury. But it seems depressing somehow – more bleak, more barren. Maybe it’s simple maturation; maybe it’s oppressive music for oppressive times. We know we’re all fateless pawns on a flaming rock headed straight for oblivion; maybe the Doomriders just can’t ignore it anymore. Anthems for our dark age indeed.

Heavy Lies the Crown starts the album in earnest, and it makes it pretty apparent that the band has added a dash of NYC noise rock to their sound. Pulsating drums, a somber guitar lead and distorted, big-city blues vocals give the song its power. Bear Witness picks things up a little with a stuttering riff and guttural vocals. There are also guitar leads galore in the song. Knife Wound is a compact number full of potential violence. It stays tight until something of a breakdown eases the pressure at the end of the song. The first song, and maybe the only song, to bring straight rock intensity to the album is Come Alive. From the guitar intro to the driven riff to the throaty vocals to the clomping drumming…it’s everything I wanted to hear from this band and more. In a just world, we would hear this song in bumpers for the X-Games, we would hear this song during NFL football, we would hear this song during NIKE commercials. In a just world, Britney Spears would lip-synch this song into her face mic during the 2010 VMAs while gyrating her baby-swollen hips. In a just world, the ignorant, wasteful, Wal-Mart shopping leeches would scuttle over cliffs like lemmings after ingesting this song.

Crooked Path and Lion are a pair of four-minute songs. Crooked Path features a slo-mo Thin Lizzy guitar lick with busy drumming in the chorus. The final two minutes of the song find the band jamming along like a hurling, Skynyrd-influenced locomotive. Lions is Unsane worship of the highest order. The foundation of the song is a grumbling bass line, and the moody guitar work and screamed vocals keep the track interesting. The Equalizer is a punchy little track with an unfortunate name. When listening to it, I can’t help but think of the 1980s TV show. Jealous God is another four-minute track that starts at a steady boil. The simmering, stereo guitar crunch catches your attention easily, and the lyrics soon have you questioning the basis of your earthly existence. Even so, the song ending guitar duel is powerful enough to pull you up from the depths of any existential crisis.

Mercy is a three-minute track that features a small twist of Cain, though the chorus is more Iron Maiden. The ending features plenty of drum pyrotechnics as well as guitar noodleage. Blood Avenger and Bloodsucker are paired together towards the end of the album. Blood Avenger is heavily noise metal influenced, but it features an interesting guitar chorus. There’s also a little speed at the end with a guitar solo and a reprise of the singable chorus. Bloodsucker is more of a classic punk number; it’s all emotion, no glory. The song starts fast, and it stays fast. The album closes with Rotter, a dramatic song with plenty of guitar flourishes. The song is solid, and the lyrics seem pretty interesting.

After all is said and done, it’s a good album…heck, a very good album. But I guess it’s not the album I expected. Much like summer, the freewheeling and fancy-free sound of the band couldn’t last forever. I guess there’s too much filth and grime to ignore, and I can respect that. Even so, I still found myself wishing for the Doomriders’ rock of old.

Killing Songs :
Come Alive, Heavy Lies the Crown, Blood Avenger
Phil quoted 84 / 100
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