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Released: 1996, System Shock
Hidden Gem Review
System Shock is a neat little label, quite underground (despite distribution by SPV) and signs pretty high quality acts. Darkside is one of those quality acts.
I grabbed this CD, their second release, on a whim from ye olde bargain bin and am very glad I did. This Austrian four piece plays a very decent brand of gothic death. At risk of using a boring review technique, they sound like a cross between old Obituary and maybe old Therion. Darkside are quite heavy and have a nice crunchy mid-tempo groove, especially the bass and drums. Dark, operatic, but not too sweet female vocals accentuate a couple of the tracks, and those voices are provided by two different female guests.
The packaging is ample with a 24+ page booklet with photos, full lyrics and credits and so on. The lyrics are very dark and depressive but not gore metal in anyway. The translation leaves a little to be desired but that never really bothers me. After a creepy opening track, (with a baby shrieking, which always freaks me out ever since I became a father!) the band lyrically explore a theme of what seems to be self-mutilation in a great track called “Of Vision and Mental Derangement”. Track six, “Noohoorsh” is a longer story with medieval themes clocking in at about 10 minutes. The whole disc is 47 minutes long and has eight songs and an intro.
Overall, I was very impressed and surprised by this disc. There is a lot of competition in the gothic/doom/death filed these days and I’m surprised that Darkside went generally unnoticed despite being on a small label. However, fans of somber, dark and depressing atmosphere combined with punchy touches of Florida old-school death will likely enjoy this quite unique disc.
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