Dark Age
Acedia


4.0
excellent

Review

by Magnus Altkula STAFF
November 21st, 2009 | 56 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: And the award for 2009’s catchiest (melodic) death metal release goes to...........Dark Age

Last Wednesday, when I was quietly at home watching one of my favorite Top Gear episodes, I happened to listen to the radio for about mere 10 minutes. What is special in that, is I very rarely listen to radio, maybe like an hour a week max. During these 10, obviously well-picked minutes, there happened to be a metal program playing (not that it’s too much of a rarity down here in Estonia, where we love metal!), and what did I hear from that program? Possibly the most infectious tune I have heard all year. I just stood there, in the middle of the kitchen, with a cup of tea in my hands, mesmerized by that song I didn’t even know at the time (later turned out to be the album’s lead-single "Kingdom Nevercome"). Hell, even the commercial was over and my Top Gear went on, but I didn't give a rat’s ass about that. I just stood and listened. When the little-over-4-minutes song had ended, and I had heard the emcee spell the name "Dark Age", I knew I just had to get this album. Now I’ve listened to the whole thing many many times, and I've come to at least one conclusion: I, starting today, will definitely listen to the radio more often.

Dark Age is a melodic death metal band from Germany. They were formed quite long ago, to be precise then already 15 years ago. Due to that, they are not one of the new-wave melodic death metal bands, who infuse classic Gothenburg sound with metalcore and add some pop flavor to it, just to get some mainstream recognition. Yet, Dark Age's blend of melodeath isn't the classic, raw, melody- and aggression driven pure Gothenburg style either. Dark Age base their blend of melodic death metal on hooks and catchiness, without sounding necessarily mainstream.

Acedia is ridden with infectious, melodic, and utterly catchy tunes. From the get-go, the guitar melodies, that in some weird and fascinating way manage to stay original and unheard-of, strike the listener and enamor him. What's even more interesting is, that the guitars are actually rather simple sounding, yet they still manage to reach their goal in such easy fashion. Hell, it took about 10 seconds for me to be 100% into Dark Age’s music. If to exclude some sweeping solos and occasional fast-picked verse riffs, the majority of this album is infested with simple, two-three chord melodic riffs. Still, if they work as well as they do on Acedia, one shouldn’t care less about the simple nature of them.

The main weight in a Dark Age song lies on the chorus’ shoulders. The chorus is frequently repeated in the song, and on Acedia, usually there are smooth, echoing synth lines used to enhance the effect of it. In most songs, verses are largely quiescent, establishing the road for the very melodic, and often powerful chorus to kick in. That’s not to say the verses aren’t good, because they are. Just more times then not, they are like a foreplay; a mere satisfying, playful act, before the real action starts.

Another thing that separates Acedia from most melodeath albums, is its unbelievably inoffensive sound. Of course melodeath isn’t the gruffest of genres, but it would be a novice mistake to call it soft or diffident. Acedia though, despite it definitely being melodic death metal, is special. Sure, on it, the drums are pounding and the guitars are always present, but it all sounds kind of soft-ish, likable and amiable. Part of the reason for that can be found in the production, which is blatantly crystal clear. There isn’t a muddy or unpolished section during the whole runtime of Acedia. On one hand, that (the soft-ish, likable sound) is Acedia's biggest bevue, as no doubt, listeners who are used to the harsher side of melodeath (Dimension Zero, Miseration, Lay Down Rotten etc.) are going to qualify this as "too weak" or "not sturdy enough". On the other though, for some music fans (like me for example), this only increases Acedia's value, as it makes it unique, and allows it to stand higher in comparison to its many stereotypical genre mates.

Make no mistake though – Dark Age ain’t no pussy metal band, they’re just (a tad) softer than some of their genre mates, and base their music on good, catchy hooks, rather than emphasize the "death" section. Yes, this is still melodic death metal by all counts and it’s bloody good.

What Dark Age have given us here, is a compilation of 12, well-executed melodic death metal songs, which actually sound fresh and unique. Their blend of catchy melodeath is a welcome change from the array of oh so typical metalcore/melodeath bands that have come forth during the last 5-6 years. From well-executed solos to admirably catchy choruses, this album doesn't exactly feature a weak spot, although it might sound a bit soft-ish for fans of gruffer metal styles. Still, despite that, Dark Age’s Acedia is definitely one of the better melodic death metal albums to come out this year.



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user ratings (26)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2009


8357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is so so so rediculously catchy its unbelievable. Another late 2009 release that makes me a happy man

Writer
November 21st 2009


136 Comments


I haven't read all of the review yet, but I'm listening to the single on Youtube.

Here's a coding error in the fourth paragraph up:

[i]Acedia/I]

jingledeath
November 21st 2009


7104 Comments


haven't listened to any catchy melodeath in a while, might give this a go. Oh and I got Impious, will listen soon.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2009


8357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks for pointing that out writer

I know how's it gonna go jingle: you get the album, give it 1-3 spins, say its pretty good, then secretly, without telling me think that it's not "death" enough, give it a 3 hoping I won't see you ONLY gave it a 3 and then quietly leave.

I've got you all figured out bro ;)

Writer
November 21st 2009


136 Comments


This is a pretty good review; it conveyed the sound of the album very well. I will vote.

The single sounded okay.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2009


8357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

if you like melodeath get this, its really damn catchy and gripping throughout. Oh and thanks man

jingledeath
November 21st 2009


7104 Comments


hahaha oh my, am I that obvious

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2009


8357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes, your ratings for (catchy) melodeath kind of give you away ;)

Writer
November 21st 2009


136 Comments


I might check out the whole thing sometime in the future, but like you, I have a lot of stuff to listen to. That progressive melodeath list you posted really gave me a lot of good recommendations. Thanks for that.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2009


8357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you're welcome

Hawks
November 21st 2009


35824 Comments


Dude I just listened to Kingdom Nevercome and it was fucking really great. I need to hear the rest of this album.

Digging: Engraved - Before The Tales

BallsToTheWall
November 21st 2009


44357 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Devote Yourself To Nothing is the pop metal single of 2009. A catchy, guilty pleasure....and not death metal anywhere. Good review.

Digging: Pharmakon - Abandon

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2009


8357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks broseph!

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2009


16389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Looking into this now. Pos.

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2009


8357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks man and nice, get back to me when you've given this a go

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2009


16389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0


Devote Yourself To Nothing is the pop metal single of 2009. A catchy, guilty pleasure....and not death metal anywhere.

My thoughts exactly. Five tracks into this and it's catchy, yes, but I'm not sure that there is anything exceptional here.

BallsToTheWall
November 21st 2009


44357 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

There isn't this is basically cruising music.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2009


16389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey at least the album art was drawn by Niklas Sundin.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2009


8357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My thoughts exactly. Five tracks into this and it's catchy, yes, but I'm not sure that there is anything exceptional here.
no this isn't exeptional, but its different from the array of similar sounding melodeath bands. The way Dark Age base their blend on catchy hooks and soaring vocals is different from the casual melodeath/metalcore bands that have infested the melodic death metal genre


Wizard
November 21st 2009


19401 Comments


rather then emphasize on the „death” section

Typo.

I would like to give you the award for "Most Improved Reviewer". I remember how you wrote last year when you joined and I look at this current review and thing, "This is quality and up to par with most of the contributors on this site". Well done. As for the record, this genre bores the hell out of me so I will probably put this one off.





Digging: Khonsu - Traveller



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