Review : DARKBLACK – "Midnight Wraith"

DarkBlackMidnight Wraith
Release: 2010Dec01 (US)
Label: Stormspell Records
Rating: 3.5/5

Admittedly, I was not expecting traditional NWOBHM-styled metal to make such a strong comeback. Remember, Metal’s elder statesmen started honing their chops some 35-40 years ago; don’t take this fact for granted, folks. If anybody out there still actually cares about radio, you may know that usually labels the performers as “oldies” artists. Our hero worship has just begun.

So get ready for more bands like DarkBlack, who are set to make their mark, if they can only distinguish themselves better. The first thing that jumped out at me were the vocals. If you look for a parallel within the confines of classic metal, Eric Wagner (Trouble) is the obvious choice, but I often hear bassist/vocalist Tim Smith strain as a young Chris Cornell before Soundgarden hit their stride. His range is more limited than either of those men, but the band is only about six years old.

Midnight Wraith is their second EP in this time, and follows their debut full length from 2009, The Sellsword (get psyched, fellow and/or former D&D nerds). They finally got an cover artist who is intriguing and not goofy, which helps the subject matter. Their choice to relocate in Portland, Oregon was also wise because Lancaster, PA is a far less metallic city, despite its location in the steel valley.

Regardless of their enthusiastic interplay, I have difficulty recalling individual songs, even after a dozen spins of this, their briefest offering. I enjoy Anthony Crocamo’s complimentary leads opposite Rob McConlogue’s reliable rhythms, which are beefed up nicely by Smith’s chugging low end. Because he also helms the vocals, he has the potential to stand as another Phil Lynott or Lemmy Kilmister, and I hope he rises to the challenge. As far as I know, they currently lack a permanent drummer, which may be the x-factor they are missing.

DarkBlack are one of those bands you truly like, but are not jean-creamers. Give all of Midnight Wraith a listen, because there is little wrong with any of these five songs. Hell, maybe you’re a Rose City skin-basher reading this right now. You busy this weekend?

FCC OK
Try: All

01. Doom Herald
02. Power Monger
03. Golden Idol
04. Midnight Wraith
05. Broken Oath

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