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Released: 2014, Independent
Australia’s Darker Half has been kicking around the metal underground for more than a decade now. Despite having two previous albums under their belts, the band has completely escaped my notice until now with their third album, NEVER SURRENDER.
Given that it’s been three years since the band’s last album, I’m guessing they are trying to use NEVER SURRENDER as their re-introduction to the global metal masses as, by my count, 6 of the 10 cuts on the album are re-recorded versions of songs previously released on their two earlier albums. That’ just background information though, because the tracks that comprise the album are seamless in their blend of European and American power metal. Seriously, the whole of the album comes off as a giant mashup of Iced Earth, Tad Morose, and Angel Dust. If that sounds as awesome to you as it does to me – you’re going to love this.
Most of the album is fast power metal that isn’t afraid to pile on the melodies to make it memorable. Some of the best songs are the blistering title track, the Tad Morose-like stomper “Stranger” (vocalist Steven Simpson really channels Urban Breed here), and the near-thrash assault of “Heads Are Gonna Roll”. Throughout, the guitar work of Simpson and Brad Dickson is superb with several spectacular solos and twin leads (check out “Duality” for proof of this).
While it’s true that Darker Half are not doing anything particularly new, they write such great songs that I just can’t help but love them. I’ve played the hell out of this album since I got it, and if had listened to it sooner, it would have made quite a dent in Top 20 of 2014 list. All power metal fans should make a point to check out these guys!
2) Never Surrender
3) End of the Line
5) As Darkness Fades
7) Blinded By Darkness
8) Lost in Space
9) Heads Are Gonna Roll
10) Anthem for Doomed Youth
Steven “Vo” Simpson: Vocals, Guitar
Brad Dickson: Guitar
Simon Hamilton: Bass
Dom Simpson: Drums
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