Released: 2002, Self-released
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Hailing from Italy, Art of Darkness sounds like a band to keep our eyes out for next. As for starters I must say they (i.e. Flavio on vocals, Heber on drums, Emilio and Sergio on guitars and Marco on bass) sound a very melodic Swedish Death Metal band. Don´t know if people consider it as a good thing for them or not, but since each out of the 4 songs (+ an outro) they have recorded for their 2nd demo-CD, has either directly or indirectly been influenced by such Swedish metal masters as At The Gates, (old) In Flames and (old) Arch Enemy, I wouldn´t consider it as that bad thing after all. And when everything has done carefully and with a great talent, I wouldn´t complain. Nobody should. On a technical level, they are no apprentices any longer. Originality in a musical approach, ain´t fully their thing yet, but I didn´t let it bother me at all ´coz Art of Darkness shines very promisingly bright on other levels musically. You can get enough proof ´bout the band´s excellent musical skills right off when the first song titled “Maniac Illusions” hit you with its all devastating Arch Enemy type of heaviness. The opening riffs for this particular song have probably been ´borrowed´ from ´enemies´´ BLACK EARTH album. What a great opener song for the disc in spite of some of these Arch Enemy –influences in there.
“Eclipse” starts off with some killer and rapid riffing that made me listen to some of the earliest In Flames album all over again. And I guessed it right; the In Flames –influence is there, but also I could rather easily spot with my finger some other Swedish melo-Death Metal bands and say it´s not only In Flames´ credit (or fault?) why Art of Darkness sound like they do on “Eclipse”. Flavio´s guttural Death –grunts make luckily a bit of difference to In Flames´ material here.
There´s some odd sounding samples used in the beginning of “Totem”, the 3rd song on the demo, but soon those samples are thrown into the deepest oblivion when some somewhat ´familiar´ guitar riffs break through and take the command and give us every justified reason to claim Art of Darkness suffers from some sort of a ´Gothenburg –syndrome´; both in good and bad, I may add.
“Slaves of Reality” has some strange bass lines ála Primus in the very beginning of the song, but you don´t have to wait for long and something familiar musically hits you again. Damn those Swedes for being that influential and inspirational bastards in every genre of music generally. Now I feel like I should envy them for the rest of my life… Anyway, “Slaves of Reality” turns out to be a rather experimental tune toward its end, having a bagful of difficult rhythm yet unexpected changes and solos in the late half of the song. I dunno, it´s probably a bit too complicated song for its own good. I guess a bit simplier song structure for it would have worked out slightly better in my opinion.
“Mystique” is only an outro and ends the demo with some beautiful sample and piano parts and leaves a very nice feeling and impression about Art of Darkness to its listener… even if we couldn´t rave about one of the most original and melodic Death Metal bands in the world. Fuck it… Art of Darkness may lack some originality, but they replace that with a huge talent they possess inside the band, so just keep your selective eyes out for them as I already stated earlier.