It’s been almost a decade since the last album from Darkwater and that is a lot of time to pass between albums. I have seen bands that were gone for less time and then try to release a comeback that sounds nothing like their older selves. So how about with Darkwater? Well, I can tell you the gang turn in an impressive prog-metal gem with Human. You’ve got time changes, crushing riffs, keyboards for miles, great harmonies… pretty much all you could ask for. And it does feel heavier, as the band claims, but the sense of melody isn’t lost. And this is definitely still Darkwater.
While they have their own sound, there are shades of earlier Dream Theater, mid-era Fates Warning (think Perfect Symmetry), and some mid to early Queensryche. It’s like a sprinkling of the better parts of those bands but they are by no means a copy of them. Just showing their influence.
Getting things started is A New Beginning, with all of the previously mentioned attributes. And it’s a nice wall of sound with nothing really overshadowing the rest. Everything in its place. Great track to kick off the album. Video below.
In Front of You begins with a mid-paced strut with some nice chunky riffage and choral sounds. The early-ish Dream Theater vibe comes across nicely on this track. Video also below.
Alive (Part 1) sounds, in part, like that mid-era Fates Warning vibe I referred to earlier, all acoustic and mellow, before kicking into a Dream Theater style sound, ala Learning to Live, with Alive (Part 2). This was the first single and showcases the bands talents nicely. Melody: check. Riffs: check. Catchy as hell chorus you’ll want to sing along with: check. Annnddd… video below. So, you can very nearly check out the first 20 minutes or so of this album on Youtube, if you wish. 20 out of this behemoth of a 76 minute album.
Reflection of a Mind starts off rocking but settles into a cinematically dramatic, yet brooding feel. The longest track on the album at over 11 minutes, there is a lot to process here.
Insomnia and The Journey continue on with some great melodies and impressive musical passages showing off the bands talents. And The Journey has another incredibly catchy chorus. They are on fire with the melodies on this album.
Then you get a proggy, riff filled, heavily melodic track (but aren’t they all?) in Burdens that is yet another perfect example to show someone just what Darkwater are about. The synth/guitar solo trade-off on this one really shines too. Warning: you’ll be singing along with this one as well.
Turning Pages starts off like it’s going to be a mid tempo rocker, but then kicks in with some fast riffage that will get your head banging nicely before falling back into a melancholic, Fates Warning sound for the verse. And, yes, another catchy chorus. The instrumental section on this one greets us with a cinematic feel again before plunging into some great guitar and keyboard work. Clocking in at over 10 minutes, there is a lot to take in here too.
The last track, Light of Dawn, doesn’t skimp on time either. At over 9 minutes, this rocker is a great way to close out the album. Love the mood here.
So, there ya go. Another fantastic piece of prog-metal from Darkwater. A band that has successfully captured the feel of the great prog-metal bands of the late 90’s/early 2000’s without sounding dated in the process.
10. Light of Dawn
Label: Ulterium Records
Release Date: 1 March 2019