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Darkwater - Human Award winner

Darkwater
Human
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 11 March 2019, 5:44 AM

DARKWATER is a Progressive Metal band from Sweden; “Human” is their third full length album.   Progressive Metal bands sometimes go too far in either direction, often times sacrificing Metal for far- fetched ideas or focusing on being so heavy, they lose some of their adventurous instrumental powers. However, DARKWATER’s “Human,” doesn’t have this problem.  Much like other heavy weight Prog Metal albums this year, such as EVERGREY’s “The Atlantic,” and DREAM THEATER’s “Distance Over Time,” this album provides the best of the combined genres for a very smooth listening experience.  The songs are long with plenty of ideas jammed into them but none of the tracks are hard to listen to or plagued by over self-indulgence—from start to finish this album just rocks so damn hard while providing the stunning musicianship and song structures that we expect from Prog.

The first track, “A New Beginning,” starts out the album on a more melodic and somber note, with a moving keyboard piece from Magnus. One the riffs kick in, the keys switch to a more spacey vibe that works very well with the riffs.  Vocalist Henrik and Markus provide the guitars that are on a constant path of change, the two seamlessly able to switch between riffs, heavy grooves, and melodic moments.  Henrik’s clean vocals are absolutely wonderful, a very powerful singing voice that is emotive and energetic.

Parts I and II of “Alive,” combine to form one amazing journey of sound.  The first part is clean instrumentation with soft vocals backed by a blanket of atmospheric keys; a very short but well-done song.  The second part is the exact opposite, cranking the Metal up to eleven but keeping things very melodic still.  Simon’s bass rules the track, becoming the centerpiece for which all the instruments revolve around.  The song is almost eight minutes in length but never feels so due in no small part to that catchy as hell chorus. The longest track presented here is “Reflection Of A Mind,” an eleven minute Prog attack that ramps up the band’s dynamics—for every heavy passage there is a melodic one to both counter it and compliment it.  The keyboards are a particular standout on this one, especially in the track’s quieter, laid back moments.

What makes this album so strong is that each song is like a self-contained story but due to their undeniable knack for creating melodic hooks, you can pick this album up and listen to any song in any order and be satisfied  Case in point is aptly titled, “The Journey,” and I found it to be one of the best representations on the album of what the band is trying to achieve with this record.  The song is melodic in the beginning, relying on the strong foundation of Tobias’ drums and the keys that keep the sound building to higher purpose.  Henrik gives a stunning performance with his soaring approach to the chorus.  After the chorus comes around for the second time, the bass and keys give a brief ambient passage that pave the way for the guitars to smash through and the bass to settle into a decent groove. The guitar solo that follows quickly and the song’s ending keyboard solo are both magical, playful, melodic, and emotional.

I had not heard of this band before the promo came to me but I’m super impressed with what this band has to offer for the Progressive Metal world.  This album stands near the top with new albums by the aforementioned EVERGREY and DREAM THEATER.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. A New Beginning
2. In Front Of You
3. Alive (Part 1)
4. Alive (Part II)
5. Reflection of a Mind
6. Insomnia
7. The Journey
8. Burdens
9. Turning Pages
10. Light of Dawn
Lineup:
Simon Andersson – Bass
Tobias Enbert – Drums
Markus Sigfridsson  - Guitars
Magnus Holmberg – Keyboards
Henrik Bath – Vocals, Guitars
Record Label: Ulterium Records
     


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