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November 2013
Released: 2013, Self Released
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: UK Team

Rising from the ashes of tech-metal ensemble Violation Complex, Bexley quartet Darkeye have already trodden the noisy ropes to a significant degree. And the transplanting of mechanical residue into a fresh inaugural EP, complete with a couple of new creative accomplices, has never sounded so ironically natural.

A swirling horde of staccato riffs lays the foundations, offset by Dean Hanfrey's barbarous growls and hurled through progressive corridors. Dark, sinister and convincing, the gents' practice begets panache, as Gojira, Xerath and Fear Factory enter an intergalactic alien shoot-out with Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad and Hypocrisy, with Mastodon running the armoury. The five-tracker also bags two feats eluded by many tech-death get-ups: groove and passion, with bucketloads of both. From the machine-gun tremolos and pinch-harmonics of opener “Nibiru” to the infectious modal tones of “Flight of the Mothman”, the record is drenched in rhythm and compositional knowledge, as mellower picked sections splice up the elastic distortion. Technicality is weaved into melody just enough to retain both punchiness and accessibility, and the four-piece evidently have both hybrid intentions and the chops to manifest them.

The only thorn in an otherwise excellent delivery is the complete absence of leads or guitar solos. A bugbear in the tech genre, it's more pronounced and annoying in the case of Darkeye on the basis that their melting pot of sounds would lend itself to a few well-placed twiddles and divebombs. The abilities of Hanfrey and new axe-wielder Dave Winter would also, judging by the self-titled offering as it stands, be more than up to the job. But that's really, really nitpicking; they've bottled cold, artificial ambience and that eerie djenty edge, but in the same vessel as earthy, balls-out death. It's feral futurism, whose authors have every desire to measure up on the elitist barometer, and no fear of failing to do so.

Fans of both local and wider metal spheres would be wise not to underestimate Darkeye's clout and potential. At this rate, the reputation they will inevitably carve within a host of respectable subgenres will sell itself, without putting a price on their integrity. Solid stuff.

Review by Rhiannon Marley
Track Listing

1. Nibiru
2. Human Archive
3. The Days Of After
4. Portent
5. Flight Of The Mothman


Dean Hanfrey - Vocals/Guitar,
Dave Winter - Guitar,
Frazer Plank - Drums,
Jeff Barber - Bass

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» Darkeye
by UK Team

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