Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 1/27/2004
A New Darkness Upon Us
posted on 1/2004 By:
Riding in on a wave of hype comes the British thrash/core mavens Stampin’ Ground. Lauded by a certain UK mag (that is fond of the letter K) as one of the best bands from the islands, naturally they can’t fill shoes that huge, but their thrashy take on a heavily-trodden style is an enjoyable development. At their better moments they hack away with riffs like that of Dew Scented – and that’s the strongest asset of this album, the fine riffage. Beyond the new-school thrash/Slayer-derived stylings, they utilize the ever-present breakdown. This is metalcore that will inspire headbanging just as quickly as it will fire up the mosh pits. Vocalist Adam Frakes-Sime delivers from all points of a range stretching from Evan Seinfeld (Biohazard) ranting up to a Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory) shout. There is plenty of rapid-fire drumming as well. A New Darkness Upon Us is pretty damned metal, hell, if this came out 10 years ago, there’d be no question, but with all the genre-bending going on nowadays, some clarification is needed. Further helping the cause is a solid, stock Andy Sneap production, with crisp and sharp distortion on the guitars and mechanical drumwork.
After an intro track, the first track, “Don’t Need a Reason to Hate”, goes straight for the throat in true Swedish form. “The Cage” is more of a mid-paced, chunkier number. Then there’s “Dead From the Neck Up” which is a surefire song to get a crowd energized, with strong breakdowns and a tough-sounding chorus. Every song has its fair share of neck-snapping riffs and thankfully, they never felt the need to go emotional on us and drop a softer song in. Overall, the songwriting tends to be quite formulaic.
For me, this new Stampin’ Ground album had all the appeal of a Carnal Forge album, where it initially knocks me on my ass, but each successive listen has a diminishing impact on me. I’d say it has more lasting power than a Hatebreed, but certainly not as enduring as an Opeth album. A New Darkness Upon Us may not be a very cerebral listen, but it’s perfectly suited for car rides, the gym, anything that doesn’t demand too deep of a focus on the music. It’s high-octane metal with a bit of hardcore attitude that is certain to slay live. Recommended for fans of The Haunted, Carnal Forge, the latest Chimaira, and Dew Scented.
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