DarkBlack - Midnight Wraith
Stormspell Records
Heavy Metal
5 songs (22'01")
Release year: 2010
Stormspell Records
Reviewed by Alex

This EP came in with perfect timing as I was listening to Slough Feg The Animal Spirits. The 80s metal can provide the endless spring of inspiration and formerly Pennsylvania now Oregon based DarkBlack feel free to drink from it as well.

Not being completely sold by their debut EP The Barbarian’s Hammer I did not make efforts to seek out an album which came in between the two EPs, so Midnight Wraith is my second face-off with the band. I even went back to my CD shelves to refresh my memory on the band’s evolution.

Happy to report that a lot of things have improved with DarkBlack, beginning with the cover art, not so cellar production, but most importantly the crew has really tightened up in the songwriting department, the parts now fitting much more cohesively (Power Monger), drum rolls stitching together the galloping pieces (Golden Idol). Songs mostly under 4-5 min, there is also quite a bit more harmony now adjoining dashing riffs in the beginner Doom Herald and 3 minutes into closer Broken Oath making the latter something of a sing-along affair. Not making their composition mindless Maiden tributes, DarkBlack still maintains a certain degree of individuality, even though one of their less compelling traits, Tim’s off-kilter high pitched vocals, is still very prominent.

I wonder why when back in Pennsylvania DarkBlack never ran into Shadow Kingdom Records, as that Pittsburgh underground label would have been a perfect fit with its love for all things 80s and NWOBHM metal. The bottomline with Midnight Wraith – while something extra is still missing from the picture to vault DarkBlack to the very peak of the traditional metal mountain, there is definitely progress and polish gain here. While the Barbarian in DarkBlack learned to chew with his mouth shut and comb his mottled hair, the Barbarian himself never turned into a refined Sycophant, which is most welcome. More fiery speedy tracks, like the title Midnight Wraith, still more impactful than slower unfolding Golden Idol, it does not seem there is quit in DarkBlack.

Killing Songs :
Doom Herald, Midnight Wraith
Alex quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by DarkBlack that we have reviewed:
DarkBlack - The Barbarians Hammer reviewed by Alex and quoted 55 / 100
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