Darkane - _Insanity_
(Nuclear Blast, 2001)
by: David Rocher (
Discovering and reviewing the long-awaited follow-up to a revered masterpiece such as Darkane's 1999 _Rusted Angel_ [CoC #42] is a dire prospect indeed. In essence, the problem here is that _Rusted Angel_ had enthralled me so much at the time that I failed to see how Darkane could ever strike harder, faster, and quite simply better than they first had. And upon first listening to _Insanity_, my fears indeed seemed to be justified. As soon as the post-intro opener "Third" kicked in, it seemed undeniable to me that the general sound of _Insanity_ failed to meet the power and intensity of that of _Rusted Angel_; worse, the opening riff to the album just sounded (and still sounds, as far as I can tell) like a rather lame, massively over-the-top attempt at rendering At the Gates style death metal -- decent, I'll agree, but nonetheless below the amazing standards set by Darkane two years ago. As the twelve tracks of _Insanity_ flowed by, however, things did brighten up: Darkane's style is still instantly recognisable, massive thrashing death metal showcasing rabid vocals and a murderous dual-axe onslaught, brilliantly nailed into place by Darkane's obviously eight-armed skinsman Peter Wildoer. Former vocalist Lawrence Mackrory's replacement Andreas Sydow does a good job on the whole, delivering varied, aggressive and clean vocals, but nonetheless falling into some pitfalls as the album unfurls -- in particular on the track "The Perverted Beast", where his strained chants are just bluntly annoying, and too high in the mix, to make matters worse. Musically, _Insanity_ does disclose a fair number of evolutions in Darkane's style. I hear more than slight hints at Fear Factory's _Demanufacture_, and more precisely even at Strapping Young Lad's _City_ or Meshuggah's _Destroy Erase Improve_ (if proof was needed, Fredrik Thordendal graces _Insanity_ with one of his trademark dissonant and instantly recognisable guitar leads on the track "Psychic Pain") on many a track, as Darkane blast, tear and romp their way through the twelve tracks of this definitely un-pretty, sweaty brute. The thrashing Swedes once again prove that their technical competence is amazing, to say the least, as _Insanity_ teems with complex, violent riffs, wicked guitar leads, and lest we forget (which is unlikely), a crushing, almighty and awe-inspiring rhythmic section. So, fans of _Rusted Angel_ be reassured, even if _Insanity_ does, after a many a listen, fail to kick my head in the way _Rusted Angel_ did, Darkane are well and truly back, and in good shape too. My main grudge remains that if Danne Bergstrand of the famed Dug Out studios had worked the same sonic wonders on this release as he did on _Rusted Angel_, we'd be beholding a totally referential, crushing release indeed -- which sadly, on the whole, _Insanity_ can't actually claim to embody. [Paul Schwarz: "I still can't quite decide about _Insanity_. Originally, I was positive it was better than _Rusted Angel_ -and- a minor metal classic. It has remained a -firm- favourite above _Rusted Angel_, but I am not still as convinced of the record's ultimate brilliance and longevity. However, though whether _Insanity_ deserves -grand- accolades may be in doubt, there is no doubt that it is a cracking metal album, which -- even though this year is looking to be a very good one -- has a chance of making my year's top twenty."]
(article published 8/12/2001)
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