Don’t judge the book by its cover: this phrase took on its full meaning as, in the bunch of new metal records that my streaming device kept suggesting me, I stumbled upon the kitschy record sleeve of DARKCELL and thought: “that must be dull music from big hollering villains”. No, I had until now never heard of DARKCELL, an Australian metal-indus band, and yes, I was completely off track. Except for something: they do holler but they master it like no one! This new album, released on darkTunes, was the starting point of my discovery of the band and after ate up the whole discography, I was able to enjoy their material truly.
DARKCELL is like the result of a satanic orgy between ROB ZOMBIE, DOPE and WEDNESDAY 13 (try to imagine the living face of this mix): industrial metal music with hard rock colors, riffs and percussions banging loud and a powerful, gravelly, striking singing. This composition and a quite freaky atmosphere are the basis of the identity of the band. Yet, The Great Big Nothing, first song of the album after the horrific introduction La Chambre des Cauchemars, has nothing to do with the previous work of the band and will wrong-foot the all-time fans of the band (in a good way). Boosted by a double drum pedals rhythm and supported by an almost guttural singing, this title tends towards black metal and draws a bloody catchy dark and melancholic atmosphere.
On the following titles, the band comes back to its familiar sounds with a striking indus metal strongly inspired by ROB ZOMBIE, may it be the way of singing of Jesse Dracman, the rhythmics or the spooky atmosphere out of a horror movie. In this respect, the excellent Hail to the Freaks sound like a new Dragula with its orchestral elements and its aggressive style. We could also name STATIC-X or GENITORTURERS to draw a map of the influences which come to our minds as the album keeps being played. On top of this obvious patchwork of influences, DARKCELL has its own personality and offers here a full and varied masterpiece. On one hand, the indus metal heaviness of Reign of the Monsters, Burn the Witches and Godless which give prominence to incisive riffs and martial beats with an incredible energy and rage. On the other hand, the hard rock of Sold My Soul et Carnevil (with its great saxo) where the singing part is more unifying than ever and where the guitars come squealing. It’s also the case on the electro Night Rider, feat. Tim Skold, whose chorus will stick in your head for a while. As for Lindsay Schoolcraft (CRADLE OF FILTH), she lends her voice to Midnite, a slower song, very melodic and melancholic, which brings the album to a masterly close.
Discovery DARKCELL with this new eponymous album (better late than never) is undoubtedly the best surprise of the beginning of this year. Vigorous, full of brilliant sounds, the gut-wrenching album is an ode to savagery and darkness. With its perfect production, the last cursed child of the Australians is an absolute success at every level.