“Darker Than Black” lives up to ALL the hype various other metal publications around the world have written about this magnificent release. Picture early Metal Church spiked with Judas Priest and one maniacal vocalist in Sean Peck and you have a general description of Cage. Perhaps the most amazing fact about Cage is that they are an American traditional power metal band that utilizes influences of black metal and death metal without the vocal absurdity. A rare breed indeed!
Lead tracks “Kill The Devil” and “Chupacabra” possess sledgehammer guitar riffs and a rather eerie sound beneath the leads giving the tracks an even more sinister quality. “Blood Of The Innocent” harkens back to the release by Warrior given an injection of steroids. On “Eyes Of Obsidian” Peck snarls “Now I’m darker than black” which just sends a frigid chill down your spine. Guitarists Dave Garcia and Anthony McGinnis are in the mold of the Tipton / Downing duo trading some of the best guitar lines and solos I have heard from an American metal band in a long time. “Philadelphia Experiment” being a prime example of their meat and potatoes approach rather than going for the flash.
Even when Cage slows down the pace slightly, they are still heavy as hell as witnessed on “March Of The Cage”. Tony Iommi would be proud to have written such a dark, doomy track. At the beginning of “White Magic” I thought Peck had traded places with Danni Filth from Cradle Of Filth. The range of Peck to go from low tones, to high screams to a deathly rasp all within a couple of verses is the meaning of extreme metal.
“Wings Of Destruction” opens with a minute long somber intro before heading off into Primal Fear territory. The USA bonus tracks “Antimatter” and “Forces Of Freedom” sounds as if they were recorded during a different session as the production is not as powerful as the rest of the CD. However, “Forces Of Freedom” is a galloping American power metal anthem that pays tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11/2001.
“Darker Than Black” by Cage is so damn heavy, it may collapse my stereo system under the weight of its aggression. Even though we do not give grades on our reviews, “Darker Than Black” gets a 100% rating from everyone involved with 1heavymetal.com who listened to this magnificent album. An instant metal classic.
Darker Than Black
Kill The Devil
Blood of The Innocent
Eyes of Obsidian
March of The Cage
Door To The Unknown
Secrets of Fatima
Wings of Destruction
Antimatter (US only bonus track)
Forces of Freedom (US only bonus track)