Released: 2013, Heaven and Hell Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Taking the speed and ferocity of Testament and swirling it with the power and rousing choruses of Helloween, Dark Design have come back for their first full length record, Prey for the Future. With the twin guitar attack of Ray Lewis and Mike Joyner, the thrash machine is well oiled for the crunching riffs to combine with the rhythm section of Matt and Robbie Mercer. After the opening track, the album kicks off with the title track, Dark Design, which opens with melodically tremolo picked arpeggios, building up into a dramatic verse with harmonized guitars and the power metals of Andrew Bertrand.
No Death kicks in with a great rhythm, a gallop of drums and harmonized guitars that are sure to please Maiden fans (because it’s a bit of a rip off to be honest.) The mix is bass heavy which is actually very helpful here, as it provides the strong foundations upon which the two guitars can build their ferocity on.
Unfortunately this track is also a great showcase for the worst thing about the record, the lyrics.
The chorus contains the line “the things I drink, the drugs I take”, and it is like David Brent has tried to write metal lyrics. In a genre decades old it’s probably not a good idea to lean onto concepts so corny they were left alone by even some of worst thrash bands of the 80s, or at least were dealt with in a slightly more subtle and thoughtful manner.
The worst example of dodgy lyric writing is in Spice World, no it isn’t about a curry house, but about the massive topic of the Middle East. This could make for something interesting and thought provoking, but the words “Praise be to Allah! Praise be to God! Hail to the fire, die by the sword!” are absolutely neither. Considering how musical proficient this band is one would seriously expect some of a far higher quality and class in the wording department, and the use of clichés so much is just plain annoying.
However, this is ignorable and if you manage to focus on the music and just head bang and rock-out this album won’t give you any grief. In a genre 25 years old the bar has been raised a lot in terms of what people expect from bands still doing this same old thing, and Dark Design have fallen short of enough excitement and youthful energy to keep me interested on this record. Serious fans may find something in this band, so they are worth checking out, but so far it appears unlikely that this band will reach up and grab hold of the same level of respect and interest the big guns of modern thrash have got.
Review by Jarod Lawley