Released: 2002, Metal-Rules.com
The reigning kings of Aussie thrash metal continue their mission to the continuum to rid the world of techno and mallcore. While the success of that mission is unfortunately not yet known, what is known is that Dark Order have unleashed a furious thrashterpiece. Thankfully, when I say this is thrash metal, I mean it. This is not a mix of death metal and thrash. I’ve often complained that there are too few true thrash metal bands coming out…that most are just black or death metal bands with thrashy riffs. I have no problem with metal sub-genres blending together, but something of the original style must remain intact somewhere right? Well at least, that’s how I feel about it, and seemingly Dark Order must be on the same page since this is what I expect to hear when someone tells me something is thrash metal.
THE VIOLENCE CONTINUUM stands head and shoulders above Dark Order’s debut album, 5000 YEARS OF VIOLENCE. We have better riffing, drumming, vocals, and excellent leads curtsey of “Lord Tim” from Australia’s own power metal warriors Dungeon. On Dark Order’s previous album, I heard a lot of Slayer influences. Sure, that still is lurking there in the background, but it is nowhere near as prominent this time around. I hear some influences from Anthrax and S.O.D. and even in a couple places a little Iced Earth. THE VIOLENCE CONTINUUM opens with a short instrumental “Mission To The Continuum.” Listen closely to the dialogue at the beginning! This is followed by what is perhaps my least favorite track on the CD called “War Has Begun”. It begins a tad too noisy for my tastes. Thankfully the song doesn’t stay the same all the way through and gets much better. Things turn around big time on “The Terran Empire” which starts in fine form with some great riffing. It’s here where, on my first listen, I really realized just how cool of a guitar tone Raul Alvaraz (guitars and lead vocals) has going on here. This is also the first song where I heard the Anthrax reference (AMONG THE LIVING era to be exact) on a couple of the song’s riffs. Following up this thrashterpiece is “Slaves of a Nameless God” which the band has also made a great looking video for! The singing on the beginning of this one shows some diversity from the screaming. Don’t expect anything pretty though; this is more dark and dismal sounding. This track has a few harmony parts that sounded quite nice! Lord Tim’s solo in this one has some nice tremelo work as well; and I have to say he sure is one hell of a soloist! The subject matter for this song is also one that has been covered by many a thrash band and continues to this day – the song’s title should give you an idea on what that is. “En Sabah Nur” begins with some melodic and clean guitars as the song builds in intensity. The vocals on this one sound different for the first part of the verse, as it’s done with a deeper voice. A nice touch with this track is that some of the clean guitar parts make their way into the song in the background. “Systemized Jewish Nazism” is up next, shocking title aside, the intro music on this one is thrash heaven. The verses are not as catchy though and dragged the song down for me. Never before have I heard a band use Star Trek: DS9 as its main inspiration for a song. Such is the case for “Condition: Red” which even has narration from “Captain Sisko”. This song was inspired by perhaps the best DS9 episode ever!
The album closes with three songs entitled “The Moby Dick Trilogy.” Chapter 1 is entitled “Overture.” On this acoustic track Raul actually “sings” and shows a side of his vocal style not revealed elsewhere on the album. I hear a tiny bit of Vintersorg on the vocals here, although they are not quite as deep…just somewhat similar. Then it’s onto Chapter 2, “Blood of the Sea” where I hear some big time Iced Earth riffing references a la “1776”. It’s also of note that Iced Earth ended their SWTWC album with the Something Wicked trilogy. Not that Dark Order sound that much like Iced Earth at all…only a big time Iced Earth fan would probably pick up on any reference – intended or unintentional. Chapter 3, “Once More Unto The Breach” is the crowning glory of the trilogy with some very catchy riffing and vocals. The trilogy as a whole is complete with quotations from the story itself. On first listen I was thinking they were quoting Kahn from Star Trek’s “The Wrath of Kahn” since Kahn also quoted from the same book in his final scene in the movie. It was not until I actually read the CD that I realized it was Moby Dick here and not more Star Trek! Ha! Still though, there are plenty of Trek references throughout the CD lyrics with “class M planets”, “sector 001”, “condition red”, etc. Ah yea, thrash metal and Star Trek…a twisted match made in the darkest, most evil depths, of the alpha quadrant.
Dark Order is one of the few NEWER thrash bands that I love. Bands like Dark Order and Imagika are where it’s at in terms of new bands properly carrying on the flame of thrash metal. Of course, this is just my opinion. If you have any love for thrash metal or extreme metal in general I suggest you check out Dark Order. War has begun, head over to http://dark-order.tripod.com