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Darkness - Over and Out Award winner

Over and Out
by Mark Machlay at 17 November 2020, 6:38 AM

Thrash-metal progenitors DARKNESS hailing from Ruhrgebiet, Germany are back with a new EP “Over and Out”. The band was first formed back in 1984 and made themselves known through a series of demo tapes titled “The Evil Curse”, “Titanic War” and “Spawn of the Dark One”. Between 1987 and 1989 they released three albums, the first being “Death Squad”, regarded as a classic in the thrash metal genre and influential to many thrash musicians to this day. Tragedy struck in 1999 when singer Olli passed away and the band decided to call it quits. The band would lay dormant until 2004 when original members Lacky and Arnd revived the thrash outfit. To announce their arrival, the three albums “Death Squad”, “Defenders of Justice” and “Conclusion & Revival” were re-released in 2005 as well as a vinyl box set of their demo tapes and a live recording of the song “Keep It True” released in 2008 under the title “The Demos”. Unsure how to go forward, the two original members searched for others to fill out the roster, eventually adding Meik on guitar in 2013 and Lee joining on vocals in 2014. The band released two full-length albums – “The Gasoline Solution” in 2016 and “First Class Violence in 2018 – as well as a split with TEUTONIC SLAUGHTER in 2017. The band had a few shakeups in the bass guitar department as well and this marks new bassist Ben’s first recording with the group.

“Over and Out” is a bit of a special release for the German thrash veterans. While the EP has three new songs to start, it also contains a live track from the past, a beefy rendition of SKID ROW’S “Slave to the Grind” as well as re-recorded version “Armageddon” – first featured on their very first demo from 1985 – and an acoustic version of “Faded Pictures” – first appearing on their seminal album “Death Squad”. The EP is a nod to the future, looking back to give a taste of what the band has in store for their upcoming seventh full-length album they are currently working on. It is being released as both a CD Digipak as well as a limited print vinyl LP in different colors on November 27th via Massacre Records with the first single “Every Time You Curse Me” already available. The band comment on the new single: “We hope you like it! We need your support more than usual. As you know it is almost impossible to play live because of Corona. So we can hardly advertise the album.” To promote the band, a release party is planned at Don’t Panic in Essen but tickets will be limited, unfortunately, for distance and hygiene regulations due to the current pandemic.

For the EP itself, the band may be getting older, but unlike other thrash acts that have watered down their sound over the years, DARKNESS are still delivering solid speed/thrash metal into the 2020s. Lead single “Every Time You Curse Me” starts rather quiet with a lone syncopated ride cymbal part, but adds the bass guitar next, then guitars and soon is pure speed metal with simple but effective riffs, speed being key once the song gets going. Next “Dawn of the Dumb” intersperses some clean guitar in the intro with the distorted guitar before it’s all distorted and the song is bit chuggier, easier on the speed. “Over and Out” is pure machine gun rapid-fire speed metal, by far my favorite of the tracks with an intense off-kilter chorus that gets quite intense. I feel like they added depth and possibly tuned lower for their SKID ROW cover because I don’t remember Sebastian Bach’s version having nearly as much energy as this version had, they took it to a whole other level. With their increased output in the late 2010s – already they have reported to be in the studio as of August 2020 – I hope their seventh album hits us sooner rather than later.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Every Time You Curse Me
2. Dawn of the Dumb
3. Over and Out
4. Slave to the Grind
5. Tinkerbell Must Die (Live in Osaka, Japan)
6. Armageddon
7. Faded Pictures (Unplugged)
Lee – Vocals
Arnd – Guitar
Meik – Guitar
Ben – Bass
Lacky – Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records


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