DOOMRIDERS‘ impressive debut, Black Thunder, was an exciting, gritty don’t-give-a-fuck metal record with MAIDEN dual-guitar harmonies, a sometimes-DANZIG croon, and death ‘n roll edge of late 90’s era ENTOMBED. Their anticipated follow-up, Darkness Come Alive, deliver a lot of those same influences, albeit in a more refined manner. Where Black Thunder had a fun party vibe, Darkness Come Alive is focused and captures a more serious tone.
Fronted by CONVERGE bassist, Nate Newton, on guitars and vocals, the screamer bellows with a distinct yet understandable growl that, along with their dual-guitar harmonies, really characterizes the band. The album begins with their “signature” harmonized guitars in “Heavy Lies the Crown,” a midpaced number that really sets the tone for the rest of the album. Unfortuantely, tempos never get too much faster than that, but the album is all about the guitars and song arrangements. “Knife Wound” then picks up the pace a bit. The track is full of strong breakdowns and is less reliant on the guitar harmonies. The album continues without straying far from their established bark. Some highlights include “Crooked Path,” “Lions,” “Mercy,” and closing track “Rotter.” Though there really are no weak songs.
The rest of the band, JR Conners (CAVE IN), Jebb Riley (DISAPPEAR), and Chris Pupecki (CAST IRON HIKE) are no slouches. They’re a tight unit exhibiting no entry-level flaws. And production, by CONVERGE‘s Kurt Ballou at his Godcity Studios is praise-worthy. The mix is full and deliciously bass-heavy.
Darkness Come Alive perhaps isn’t quite the “expected” follow-up to Black Thunder, but it’s a thoroughly solid album of heavy music that isn’t to be labeled “this-core” or “that-core.” It’s just heavy fucking metal! (Deathwish Inc.)