Dark Age - Dark Age - Remedy Records - 2004 reviewed by: Ajax
1 Fix the focus 2 Zero 3 Dare to collapse 4 Pulse of minority 5 Neokillers 6 Nikita 7 My own darkness 8 Neurosis 404 9 The elegy of a forgotten science 10 Suicide solution (Ozzy Osbourne cover)
Dark Age, in my opinion one of the best kept secrets in the world of death metal. The band hail from Hamburg, Germany, and their sound can be discribed as a crossover between death/darkmetal and a touch of goth. They've got a certain Gothenburg feel to their sound, but their style is distinctive, yet catchy.
Although most mellow deathsongs can be described by their contast between clear sung choruses and the more harsh melodies, it is precisely these characteristics that make Dark Age a cut above the rest. Their distinctiveness shines through in the uptempo songs and singer Eike Freese's peculair voice. The point is: where other bands would throw in some clean singing and/or guitar solos just for plain variety, for this band it really works. Dark Age is one of the few bands able to incorporate all the formentioned elements into a perfect blend of truly blistering melodic death. Their sound is a melancholic blend of darkness and grief bathed in an energetic mix of fury and melody. There is a dark undertone to the songs, which is emphasized by the constant suport of the synths. Ah, the synts, always (yet subtle) present in the background, which gives the songs just that little extra. Except for "My Own Darkness", the songs are fastpaced--an ongoing assault of melody, guitar solos and screams is shot your way.
As mentioned above, it is the voice of singer/guitarist Eike Freese which gives Dark Age it's characteristics. Dark Age is also the first album in which the clean vocals are so heavilly incorporated. Before, the clean vocals were only used on two songs of the "Silent Republic" album. Now the clean vocals contribute to most of the album's songs. Two songs on the album really stand out: "Dare to Collapse" and the forementioned "My Own Darkness". "Dare to Collapse" is a fastpaced song with a truly devastating guitar solo that goes on and on, whereas "My own Darkness" is more of a clean sung ballad (yes ladies and gentleman, a mellow death ballad!). The song is about being alone and nobody being there for you. A theme perfectly fitting Dark Age's dark undertone.
The album's title was chosen because the band did everything on this record by themselves for the first time. All by themselves? Yes, Dark Age frontman Eike Freese is the proud owner of the Eikey Studios and a recordlabel called Eikey-Music (Check out www.eikey-music.com). The album was produced in the Eikey Studios in winter 2003/2004. Besides the song writing the production was also done by Freese. Freese also co-produced the earlier Dark Age albums, but this time the production was completely by his hand. The advantage is obvious as Freese exactly knows what the album would have to sound like.
Various artists contributed to Dark Age: Tiamat's Johan Edlund joined the recording session for two tracks ("Dare to Collapse" and "The Elegy of a Forgotten Science"), as did Nachtgarm from Negator ("Neurosis 404"), Kannixx from Torment ("Pulse of Minority"), Alex Muritz from Serpent Soul (also on "Pulse of Minority") and finally Florian from Eclipsis ("Nikita").
The album comes in a normal jewelcase edition and a bonus edition which contains the normal CD plus a bonus DVD. The bonus edition contains an etched CD. This means that on the back of the CD you can read the words Dark Age and Remedy Records. The DVD contains a 45-minute studio diary of the recording process. Theres is a live-part consisting of about an hour of live material of two shows: a recording of the band's 50th show in their hometown Pinneberg and a recording from Metal Bash Open Air 2003. Besides the live recordings the video clip of the song "The Fall" from the band's debut album “The Fall” is included, as well as a biography of the band members.
Although they do not hail from Gothenburg, this band is capable of competing with the genres best. I wonder why this band is still so relatively unknown, whereas lesser gods are credited for by a much wider audience. An audience undoubtedly wanting to hear from this band. Dark Age is the logical step in taking (melodic) death metal to the next level. This band creates so incredibly much energy that if death could dance Dark Age would be his DJ!!
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details