Ahhh, how I used to miss the old days, guitar heroes, glam rock riffs and actual guitar solos! From about 2000 onwards I was very much into hard rock, listening to the likes of AC/DC, Queen and G 'n' R. There's no substitute for the sheer power and incredible range of the vocals, the cranked up clangy distorted guitars, hair blowing in the wind whilst playing lightning fast solo's sort of affair. The last thing I would've ever imagined was a 'blast from the present reminiscent of the past'. However, The Darkness' debut released in 2003 is perfectly subject to that.
this record is fuelled with pure 70's/80's energy combined with the raw sound of modern guitar settings and heavy basslines. From the heart pounding fast pace opener 'Black Shuck' to the glam rock love song outro, this album holds a strong ground through constant listening.
'BLACK SHUCK' draws us in with a catchy hard rock guitar riff, then the drums come in pounding the bass at every beat, which leads straight to the first verse. The lyrics are similar to the genius and comical 'TENACIOUS D'. This especially noticable in the chorus 'Black Shuck- that dog don't give a ***!'. These guys curse a considerable amount. This is misleading as the genre of music suggests fun lovin' rock n roll. Not quite as simple as that - The sound is much harder than the most famous and acclaimed 70's/80's rock bands, and the lyrics are a lot more vicious and over emphasised than most bands. This isn't a bad thing though - it simply adds a lot of character to the music. this is clearly evident in 'GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY WOMAN' which was the second single off the album. It's probably the heaviest, fastest and most rocking song on the album, and most vulgar if you are offended by lots of direct hard cursing.
The album has it's fair share of love ballads, including the single 'GROWING ON ME'. The riff is a simple Darkness style progression, the lyrics to this song are especially humerous, as they are actually about genital warts. 'Cos everywhere I go you there, I can't get you out of my hair, can't pretend that I don't care - it's not fair.' the solo fits the song well as it is a moderate speed ballad, and gives Dan hawkins a Guitar hero ego ( especially as to how it's depicted in the music video). the other ballad singles are 'love is only a feeling' which was less successful than the other singles, yet is a great song nonetheless. 'HOLDING MY OWN' is very similar to 'GROWING ON ME' as the lyrics are once again misleading at first. Then we discover the song is about solo sex. Hmmmm.
The album is quite commercial overall, but then again since when was glam rock ever not commercial? How can you not make an item of yourself wearing nothing but a fullbody lycra cat suit? 'I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE' obtained the most radio play out of all the singles, but it does it with good grace. The song boasts three solo's, each increasing in difficulty and speed as they progress. This is unusual for most modern rock songs.
Now the songs I believe are in a league of their own. My personal favourite 'GIVIN' UP' is a track about a down-and-out talking about hard drugs being the only thing he cares about, and not caring whether he lives or dies. The lyrics are quite disturbing, but make you chuckle at the same time. 'But I won't apologise I'd inject into my eyes if there was no-where else to stick my skag'. the riff is very progressive and the guitar is very reminiscent of BRIAN MAY of QUEEN. the song has a break into an impressive duet by Dan and Justin.
'LOVE ON THE ROCKS WITH NO ICE' boasts the most interesting and well written riff on the album. Another moderate rock song which is similar to the later METALLICA, such as 'LOAD'. Justins vocals are most impressive, as he moves up in entire octaves by step during the chorus, which is very hard to do. Especially at the given pitch. 'FRIDAY NIGHT' is the most Queen-esque song on the album. It is very upbeat (and if I may coin a phrase) and is 'music that girls can dance to' the only filler track is 'STUCK IN A RUT'. this doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad song, it just doesn't stand out as well as the other tracks.
Overall, an amazing return to real rock music from the darkness. Thank you very much lads - we all needed it.
Tracklisting and ratings:
1.black Shuck 4.5/5
2.get your hands off my woman 4.5/5
3.growing on me 4/5
4.I believe in a thing called love 5/5
5.Love is only a feeling 4/5
6.givin' up 5/5
7.Stuck in a rut 3/5
8.friday night 4/5
9. Love on the rocks with no ice 5/5
10. Holding my own 3.5/5
overall rating 4.5/5