Darkology – Fated To Burn (2015) – Every once in a while there comes a heavy metal record that truly deserves all of the praise that I can possibly give it, and such is true for America’s own Darkology. Built by the efforts of the extremely talented Michael and Brian Harris (Arch Rival, Leather, Chastain, Solstice (US), Firewind, along with help from the amazing vocals of Kelly Sundown Carpenter (Beyond Twilight, Epysode, Outworld) and the pounding bass of Mike Neal (Medieval Steel, Salem’s Lot) these guys pack an awful lot of experience and firepower in what is a truly incredible power metal record from beginning to end. But let me stop praising this beast for a little bit and explain to you why Fated To Burn is the kind of record that you need on your shelf.
Let’s start with the opener, “Kill Me If You Can 6:07” which comes in like an F1 racer and packs enough progressive muscle and intrigue to keep you entertained through the whole thing. Kelly’s laughter is also quite infectious during the chorus, reminding me a little of Ozzy’s classic maniacal chuckle of the same merit during “Crazy Train.” As we get to the next cut, “Beyond The Grave 6:31” dark melodies seem to serenade what seems to be a mix of ballad and Halford-esque wail. Let me tell you folks, this guy truly gets theatric with his vocals and it’s one of the most passionate efforts I’ve heard in power metal since the days of classic Sanctuary.
“On Morrow’s Break 4:38” is definitely one of the album’s best vocal moments, with an extremely catchy chorus and equally potent lead melodies. It’s the kind of song that reaches up and grabs you like stone titan and doesn’t let go, no matter how much you struggle. But it gets even better with the Orwell inspired chug-fest “Eyes Of The Machine 3:44” and stays consistently heavy through “Quantum Genocide 6:42” which includes the album’s only moment of ferocious drum blasts (completely uncommon for the genre, but welcome nonetheless!) as “Shadows Of Oth 6:42” continues to pave Priestly power thrash, as it fills with tiny bits of groove.
The album’s title cut is also as notable as you’d expect, with another one of those catchy, three-ton earworms. Through it you’ll continue to listen to this song, like many others you’ll notice that these guys don’t necessarily have a simplistic view of their music, which leads to power metal with surprisingly more depth. They’ll call it power/prog, but to me it just sounds like intelligent power metal.
Another one that picked me up (right from the first couple of riffs in fact) is the thundering behemoth, “21st Century Frankensteins – Nobot 2 4:40” which comes off as little bit creepy, yet crushing as it fits the lyrical content perfectly. They top off the record with the lengthy, yet explosive finale in “The Nightmare King” which comes with a little dessert called “Your Hollow Soul 4:48“, a juicy little instrumental that literally couldn’t have ended the record better.
Even though there might be a few moments towards the latter half of the disc that might not seem quite as potent as others, I would still want this album on my shelf and you’ll want it on yours as well. It’s just one of those special power metal releases that has enough going for it that a few middle of the range cuts just won’t be enough to knock it down. Like a towering Juggernaut, even the less catchy tracks are extremely well-written and everything on the disc was noticeably well thought out and structured before it was recorded.
Fans of Crimson Glory, Sanctuary, Leather, Metal Church, Judas Priest and several others will eat this one right up and they very well should. If you’re looking for a well-written power metal disc that you can play the whole way through and not wind up skipping through tracks, then you’ll enjoy this one. Throughout the time I’ve had it; I’ve let it play through more than a couple of times and would be perfectly comfortable spinning this beast quite a few more. I definitely have my favorite tracks, as you will have yours, but this is definitely the kind of material I’ll bend over backwards to promote, as it towers over everything else. Definitely get your hands on Darkology’s Fated To Burn. The Grim Tower highly recommends it.
(12 Tracks, 69:00)