Reviewed: October, 2021
Released: October 2021, Indie
I always appreciate when a band takes time and effort into the creation of their art. It is not that a band who just puts out 10 songs on a CD is in any way inferior, but I have admiration for a band that thinks bigger; a band that tells a story, has characters, plot, narration and has multi-media components. The Dark Horde are one of those bands.
The Dark Horde is a collective of renowned Australian Metal artists under the leadership of mastermind and creator, Brewin. The project has been bubbling under the surface for many years and has now come to fruition. Back in 2012 Brewin wrote a book called ‘The Dark Horde’, a piece of horror fiction. Overtime the concept grew into the band/project and now THE CALLING is about to be released.
Brewin has recruited some firepower for the album especially Hanny from Black Majesty and Danny from Pegazus. The 12-song album is a compact 50 minutes which is good because I know many people who don’t like concept albums complain primarily about the length of an hour long album and then go sit and binge watch an entire season of a TV show. I’m not going to discuss the plot but it has been described as a dark, supernatural/horror thriller…so no unicorns or dragons on this one!
This is certainly headphone type material edging into soundtrack material but still very Metal. We have a lush audio palette with orchestral interludes, acoustic guitars, narration, sound effects and voice-overs. As Canadian the Australian accent is always exotic and appealing. The character who plays the voice of the distressed/haunted boy did a great job, sending shivers down my spine with his tortured screams! Sonically the self-produced (by Brewin) album is top-notch with Borges (Sepultura) and Bogren (Angra, Dragonforce) putting the final shine on it. Musically, we get true Metal, classic, traditional inspired by the greats of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and the enhanced soundscapes of Savatage, Queensryche and many more. There is a great mix of speed and power and epic intensity as exemplified on the track ‘Rebirth’. If you stripped away all the extra stuff at the core you still have an album of killer Metal / Power Metal songs full of raging double-kick drums and blazing solos. The addition of gruff vocals also gives it some dark accents as well.
THE CALLING really is more like a Rock Opera; narrations, musical interludes, various characters playing roles this is a whole work of art meant to be consumed and enjoyed in its entirety. The Dark Horde have brought this masterwork to life and it is one of the best concept albums I’ve heard in a long time.
Watch for my book review of ‘The Calling’ book tie in and an interview with Brewin next month!
Hanny Mohamed – guitars/bass/drums/keyboards
Logan Jacobs – guitars/keyboards
Danny Cecati – lead vocals
Kevin Powe – narration
Brewin – concept/lyrics
Aldo Requena – artwork
Guest musicians Chris Kane and James Lowe, guest singer Shaun Farrugia, and guest actors Dexter Seamus, Jane Brewin and Andrew Carolane).
Mixed by Ricardo Borges and mastered by Jens Bogren (both at Fascination Street Studios in Stockholm, Sweden)