DARKOLOGY - ALTERED REFLECTIONS (Rock-A-Holics Records)
(Review by Officer Nice)
I remember the Outworld demo totally blew me away! I couldn’t wait for their debut album and it was around the Christmas holidays, some years ago, I received it to be forever worshipped. This release was my ultimate album of that specific year! There were plenty of reasons to idolize that album but one of the most important motives was without any doubt the presence of Kelly Sundown Carpenter, a professional Metal God ‘pur sang’! This man left Outworld afterwards and joined Beyond Twilight to appear on their second CD, entitled “Section X”. Outworld meanwhile disbanded and that is such a shame because they were too fantastic to leave the Metal scčne. The worst is that their second album will never see the light of day…
Anyway I discovered Kelly Carpenter joined another band, playing a similar style as Outworld did; the name of his new formation is Darkology. Amongst the members of this band we find some other true Metal heads that pleasured us so many times in the past; Michael Harris (Chastain, Arch Rival, Thought Chamber) on guitars and his brother Brian Harris (Firewind and Solstice). On bass guitar we find a man called Mike Neal! Let me also mention the outstanding solo-albums of Michael Harris right here because fans of guitar heroes must adore them and this man’s talent can be re-discovered on this Darkology release… Having a band with such amazing musicians must result in a superb album, no?
Well, allow me already to say “Altered Reflection” ends as my definitive favorite disc for this year! This kind of dark Progressive Power Metal is just too beautiful to spend words about but I am obliged to as a review writer! As a matter of fact you should stop reading right here and surf to their website to listen to their music, to surf back again to the Metal To Infinity webzine and continue reading my review… Why? Because it is so much easier to understand my words while listening to this gem! Fans of Beyond Twilight, Outworld, Vougan and the better Symphony X records will be astonished by these Americans!
Where to begin? Well, let’s start with the quality of this release! The variation, the riffs, the arrangements, the ultra dark atmosphere in every song… devastating and mind blowing! The front and back cover of this awesome digi-pack breathes what this album is all about; Dark Energy! In and between every song these musicians created elements that will easily suck you into another dimension, a dimension of this particular “Dark energy” (an unbelievable track by the way). Each song succeeds to the highest standards of a perfect Metal song. There are masses of Progressive injections in every track and there’s so much to discover. Darkology has been creative and ambitious, working hard on every detail! Nevertheless Darkology stays focused to play refrains and choruses that make it possible to the listener to find the red lines or in other words there’s no exaggeration to show all of their talents. All members are equally responsible for this magnum opus; no member needs to stand in the shadow!
In every song Darkology delivers a wide range of atmospheric and emotional elements. Some Jazz, plenty of (mysterious) ambient performances, some sinister samples to create this specific mood, freaky movie elements, subtle but perfectly used keyboards to create an even darker atmosphere…all are foreseen and in between Michael Harris proves why he‘s labeled as a guitar hero! Mighty riff and lightning fast – yet emotional played – guitar solos are heading your way. Michael Harris deserved his status before but by this release he proves that he’s a fantastic song writer! His performances makes Darkology sound neo-classical, but in this case ten thousand times stronger!
Next to the Progressive part Darkology also spoils the listener with some pure and overwhelming Power. Imagine the kind of power we knew from Nevermore (“Dreaming Neon Black” and “Dead Heart In A Dead World” era), Iced Earth (“Something Wicked This Way Comes” era), Evergrey (“In Search Of Truth” era) and some ultra Progressive technical mid tempo Thrash Metal bands. The basic lines are ultimate technical and strong, the bass guitar lines and the sophisticated played drum parts are beyond belief. Add a perfect production for this kind of music and you’ll understand that Darkology succeeded in their goal to release an album where the mix / production and music are in an ideal balance! This kind of Metal invites you to play it loud, bang that head and feel victorious being a Metal head!
The songs are amazing, guitars are godlike, bass guitars and drums complete…what do we need more? Of course, a band often falls or stands with their singer but in this case we’re talking about Kelly Carpenter as the complete Metal singer extraordinaire! Yes, Kelly Sundown Carpenter belongs between the best ten Metal singers on earth! Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Rob Halford (Judas Priest), James Rivera (Helstar, Destiny’s End,…), Ronnie James Dio (Dio, Black Sabbath,..), Warrel Dane (Nevermore, Sanctuary), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Jorn Lande (Beyond Twilight, Jorn, Ark,…), Russel Allen (Symphony X) to name a few are the best singers on earth and from now on (actually since the Outworld album) Kelly Sundown Carpenter belongs in that row. The strength and the range of this man’s voices have no boundaries! Aggression, pain, melancholy, fear, laughter and every other possible emotion can be expressed by this man’s voice; Godlike! His vocal sound is unique but if you want me to compare him I should say he delivers a mix between Jorn Lande, Russel Allen, Rob Halford and Warrel Dane! What a fantastic voice with so many possibilities to use different vocal sounds! The high screams blow me away, the aggressive timbre is precise and unqualified!
This intelligent masterpiece is exceptional beautiful and to be honest I have nothing negative to say about this album; even the digi-pack itself can be considered as being perfect. This is Metal as superlative as it can be! Everything I am longing for in a good Metal band is present and I’d like to congratulate Darkology with this fantastic debut album; to me they deserve their place in my year list (check it out guys)! From now on this album will forever belong between my all time favorite Metal releases, that’s for sure! Every Metal fan around the world should purchase this one; check these new Metal Gods out at http://www.myspace.com/darkologymetal or http://www.darkology.com
My Points: 100 / 100