Darkcell – Darkcell (2019)

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Brisbane’s Darkcell have been a stalwart of Australian industrial horror metal for near on a decade now, and with the release of their latest self titled effort, the band is taking a huge step forward to cement its place as one of Australia’s best of any genre.

Instrumental opener, La Chambre Des Cauchemars, slowly builds up its intensity before launching in to The Great Big Nothing.  It’s a slab of Nu Metal styling, which is relentless in its delivery.  Intro track aside, The Great Big Nothing is the true opening statement of this record.

Reign of the Monsters is as menacing as it is heavy.  With its electronic undertones it creeps along beautifully.  Burn the Witches starts off with a buzzsaw riff, before taking a direction that owes a lot to Rob Zombies early solo material.  A definite crowd pleaser.

Scars and Stripes is another Nu Metal banger with a massive chorus, while Godless (featuring former Jerk guitarist Jonathon Devoy) is sure to be one of the biggest mosh pit moments of Darkcells live shows.

Night Rider opens up with an industrial take on The Rolling Stones Start Me Up, and quickly becomes the most straight forward rock song on this album, yet still keeps with the industrial feel of the record.  Frontman Jesse Dracman alternates between Rob Zombie inspired vocals, and a style that calls Mechanical Animals era Manson to mind.  The influences are hard to ignore, but they’re used to perfect effect.

Carnevil is has a real sing along vibe with its “hey hey heys”, and proves to be a really bouncy and fun song, amid an already very fun record.  Hail to the Freaks is a call to arms for all witches beasts and freaks to come and join the party, and I’m sure they will do just that.

Sold My Soul creeps out from beneath your bed and works its way into the darkest places of your mind.  There’s a very sinister vibe to the track, but never at the expense of the huge anthemic feeling that Darkcell does so well.

Closing out the album is Midnite.  Another dark epic, featuring some stellar work from Cradle of Filths Lindsay Schoolcraft.  It’s slows the pace of the album dramatically, becoming almost sludgy at times, yet builds to an excellent climax for both the song, and the entire album.

Looks can be deceiving, so don’t let the appearance of the band or any of its artwork turn you off.  Darkcell might look like a “true Norwegian black metal” band upon first glance, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Even with the themes of darkness and the occult, Darkcell have crafted a very accessible album that can, and should be, enjoyed by a wide variety of heavy music fans.

9/10

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