Darkane - _Rusted Angel_
(WAR Music, 1999)
by: David Rocher (
Despite the mild letdown that Carnal Forge's _Who's Gonna Burn_ [CoC #36] embodied, WAR Music releases on the whole prove to be damn good news; and Wez Wenedikter's songwriter extraordinaire breeding ground has indeed once again provided the goods above all hopes. Fusing technical Swedish death metal tones with the violence and unbound aggressiveness of late eighties' Bay Area thrash, Darkane's first and essential effort is a ruthless slab of extreme metal that successfully recaptures (and doesn't merely rehash) the power and industrial inhumanity of Meshuggah, the frantic violence of Razor, the raucous low-case heaviness of Carcass and the jaw-dropping duelling lead guitar virtuosity of Arch Enemy, all this sealed within the fathoms of Darkane's own brilliant songwriting style. While the string section lead by axemen Christofer Malmstrom and Klas Ideberg and bassist Jorgen Lofberg never ceases to develop fantastic ideas and technicality oozing with utter heaviness, ex-Armageddon skinsman Peter Wildoer -- arguably one of the finest and most technical extreme metal drummers out there -- provides the backbone to the constant breaks and syncopated rhythmic parts with his complex, pounding drumming and sparkling cymbal play; Darkane's fantastic vocalist Lawrence Mackrory demonstrates with what ease and precision he shifts from angered thrash vocals, akin to Razor's Bob Reid's, to high-pitched grating black metal screams, to thick, phlegm-churning death metal roars. With a good production, _Rusted Angel_ would have been a great album, but Darkane have chosen to ignore the usual Abyss and Fredman studios, and recorded this offering in Upssala's Dug Out studios, with the mighty production genius Daniel Bergstrand at the mix... This results in a production which is absolutely -stellar-, loud, crunchy, clear, thick, powerful and perfectly balanced, and which makes _Rusted Angel_ the definitely cardinal release it is. Sweden's new extreme masters Darkane are technical, violent, varied and catchy way beyond what words can describe -- I've seldom heard metal get better than this, and I don't recall many first efforts having instantly burnt me to a crisp the way _Rusted Angel_ has done. Above all doubt, one of 1999's, and probably this decade's, finest death metal releases. Buy or die.
(article published 12/8/1999)
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