posted on 10/2002
I do believe it has finally happened, Sweden in a whole is really beginning to wear thin on me. As bands continually try to reinvent themselves and broaden their fan base I watch from a far and shake my head. Now don't get me wrong, my disappointment doesn't lie in the fact of more exposure granted (give me a fucking break, a guy has to make a living) but the music seems to suffer time and time again with the latest heap of mediocrity flowing from Sweden's veins. Whereas Darkane isn't the perfect example of this Swedeath disappointment I do find that their recent release, Expanding Senses incredibly forced in comparison to their last offering, Insanity which seemed to gel from opening track Calamitas straight through closer, Inverted Spheres. Expanding Senses does embody much of the Darkane sound within Insanity but doesn't deliver the lasting impression that Insanity seamlessly enveloped. Chalk this up to over expectation possibly, for it has victimized me in the past and led me down the wrong road of opinion but again the album just feels over worked instead of just letting the experience happen.
With that said, is this album a waste? Hell no, in fact I have found my head moving side to side with the evil face-o-grimace in tact on several occasions with even a horn or two thrown up while sitting in rush hour traffic. The execution of straight-forward no frills crush-metal rears its beastly head countless times throughout Expanding Senses, most notably on opener stomp-romp Innocence Gone and track 7 Chaos Vs Order. Now here are two songs to stick in your heavy fucking metal pipe and inhale. Throughout Expanding Senses Andreas Sydow's vocals punish from one range to another, he switches up the delivery from death hits to a throatier thrash metal attack, proving he has the throat to scoff at predecessor Lawrence Makory, who subsequently does join Sydow on Chaos Vs Order. As I glance through their bio and promo I'm not sure if lyrical credits are given to Sydow or not but here is a definite positive in Darkane's favor. It's always a pleasure when the lyrics complement the music at hand, I know a many of you could give a flying fuck about lyrics but this is one cat who does find worthy lyrics essential to any metal release of the millennium. The rights of "the stealer of the show" have to befall on ruthless drum slinger Peter Wildoer. With his hectic downright grueling performance throughout at times he single handily carries Expanding Senses on his shoulders.
Bottom Line: Expanding Senses is one solid fucking metal album BUT I don't foresee myself returning to it often except for the aforementioned songs and possibly a few others, it's just not an album that gets thrown in and stays. One thing worth mentioning is that I did find within Expanding Senses several similarities to Testament's bone crusher, Low. Was this intentional, who fucking knows but it is quite obvious for all to hear. In all actuality Darkane feed off several patented metal sounds but in a whole they are a band that does mesh all the influence together as one to achieve signified sound.
Layers of Lies
Rusted Angel (Remastered & Reissued)