Darko (US)
Darko


2.0
poor

Review

by Tyler White STAFF
May 16th, 2021 | 65 replies


Release Date: 2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Heavy and chaotic monotony

To put it plainly, Darko succeeds in what it sets out to do, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a quality record. Darko US, a “supergroup” from deathcore creative minds Josh Miller (Emmure) and Tom Barber (Chelsea Grin), showcases their aggressive side by attempting to craft an album of sheer brutality and heaviness that remains relentless throughout its duration. However, the main issue that plagues Darko is that there is only so much you can do with modern deathcore techniques influenced by each of the member’s former bands. Sure, extremely low tuned guitars and complex rhythms have their fair share of fun and amusement, but the novelty of the act quickly wears off when each song beats the same pattern over and over again.

From the opening of “Splinter Cell,” listeners are hit with an onslaught of technical drum grooves and down-tuned guitars following suit accompanied by dissonant leads and “glitched” production additions. The intense instrumental composition of Josh Miller is complemented by Tom Barbers ferocious vocals, effortlessly alternating between insane lows and abrasive highs that display an impressive variety of technique and skill. Although the track is nothing groundbreaking or new to the genre, it is an amusing showcase of the genre’s heaviest moments that craft an enjoyable track. This is immediately followed by “Fiend Dream” which… well, it does the same thing it seems. And such is the pattern for the majority of this record. An onslaught of heavy aggression and intense instrumentation followed by more aggression and more intensity. This is exactly where Darko falls apart: there are very few moments on the record that feel like offensively horrible songwriting, but every track sort of bleeds together utilizing the same tools for the same product which leaves the album feeling lazy and lacking progression. Moreover, with each repeated rhythm and pattern, the instrumentation feels less and less organic and more algorithmic, feeling (and sounding) like a manufactured heaviness rather than human creativity. Yeah, it’s cool to hear the complex rhythms that Darko US has crafted and it’s impressive to hear Tom Barber’s insane vocals, but it really loses its appeal when it’s the same thing over and over again without much diversity in the construction of the record.

However, that’s not to say that all is lost with this record. The highlights of Darko lie in the lighter moments of the record that drift away from the attempt to craft a relentless experience and focus more on the atmosphere and melodic elements of their style. After the monotony of the first two tracks, “Donna” is a pleasant break from the relentless aggression, providing room for the instrumentation to breathe with a more concentrated approach to songwriting and composition with more range in the vocals and ambiance. Likewise, “Daniel” slows the pace of the record and delves further into the melodic atmosphere that forms an open, airy feeling track. With the help of Spiritbox’s Courtney LaPlante and Kingdom of Giant’s Johnny Reeves, “Daniel” solidifies itself as a top track as it distances itself from the manufactured heaviness and presents itself as a fully formed, complete track. Even the ambient interlude “If This Is Forever” grants listeners with a much-needed break from the monotonous heaviness of the previous tracks and provides a breath of fresh air in the instrumentation of the record.

Despite its attempt at crafting something unique and heavy, Darko falls short as it finds itself trapped in the cycle of monotony and repetitiveness. Yeah, Darko US succeeded in creating something that was unrelentingly heavy, but such a feat was achieved through the sacrificing of genuine songwriting and engaging progression. Aside from the few outlier highlights (“Donna”, “Daniel”), all of the tracks throughout the record sort of bleed together, sounding like the same thing for the 45-minute duration. But at the end of the day, you can’t really expect too much from a band that derives itself from Emmure and Chelsea Grin, can you?



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user ratings (121)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
tyman128
Staff Reviewer
May 16th 2021


4552 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Was never really a fan of this band to begin with. Their first single from this record was pretty fun, but then when the rest of the singles sounded almost identical I sorta just gave up on them. Aside from Donna and Daniel, I'm probably not gonna be revisiting this record any time soon.

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
May 16th 2021


19034 Comments


donnie darko makes no fucking sense. great review

Purpl3Spartan
May 16th 2021


8781 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

As much as I'm a fan of this record, I can't fight the points you make here

Tundra
May 16th 2021


9864 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

deserved review, album is nothing too special

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
May 16th 2021


4552 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

appreciate the read guys

I can kinda see how some enjoy this, but it ain't for me

SteakByrnes
May 16th 2021


30135 Comments


Rad review brother, I still haven't gotten around to this and idk if I will lol

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
May 16th 2021


4552 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

appreciate it! and don't bother man, spend your time elsewhere because I don't see you enjoying this particularly

LeddSledd
May 17th 2021


7444 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

album is fucking awful



great review

bigweinerdon
May 17th 2021


2724 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album absolutely rips boys smarten up

Purpl3Spartan
May 17th 2021


8781 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Donna is such a tune

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
May 17th 2021


4552 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Donna and Daniel are sick, everything else just sorta falls flat

@big yeah it rips, for about two tracks and then it's monotonous for me and doesn't go anywhere

costofnothing
May 17th 2021


157 Comments


Man I thought their EP was cool but that's probably because it was short and things are a lot less repetitive when they're short.

doc23
May 17th 2021


41 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

While I tend to agree with your points I would personally score it a bit higher as I think it has just enough variance in parts. I also think it’s better then most deathcore coming out these days.

igordrago
May 17th 2021


230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It slaps

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2021


4552 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"I also think it’s better then most deathcore coming out these days." I'd sadly agree because a lot of modern deathcore in general is bland and falls into the same tropes without any sort of uniqueness that sets bands apart

Uzumaki
May 18th 2021


4585 Comments


‘"I also think it’s better then most deathcore coming out these days." I'd sadly agree because a lot of modern deathcore in general is bland and falls into the same tropes without any sort of uniqueness that sets bands apart.’

Truth. It’s harder nowadays to find deathcore that doesn’t sound so cookie-cutter.


SaveBandit
May 18th 2021


3308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Don't agree with the rating, but I'm glad this has a review now lol. This is fun as hell when I'm in the mood for shit this heavy and dense.

Purpl3Spartan
May 18th 2021


8781 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Pale Tongue goes off especially in the second half

Purpl3Spartan
May 18th 2021


8781 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This album would probably be super hype to spin while playing COD zombies

V3XED
May 25th 2021


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Id say this is the right place and time for me anyways, hits a spot.



While monotonous at times (admittedly) this album DOES have variety in the aforementioned songs, and there is some real creativity in the samples/noise used throughout.



IMO its a deathcore release that manages to tread some new ground, which is an achievement in and of itself.



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