I haven’t given a shit about The Darkness in over a decade. When Permission To Land dropped in 2003 I was working in a local record store in Boston and, like most, was swept up in the fervor that accompanied the album which, to this day, still fucking rules. Since then, the band followed up with a pretty lackluster album (Which initially caused my disinterest going forward), disbanded, and then reunited in 2011 and have put out three more full-lengths (Not including the one being reviewed here) in that time. And now you’re up to speed, too.
But I digress.
All this rambling brings us to today and Easter Is Cancelled, The Darkness’ sixth long player which I initially thought was going to be a quick skip through listen and a pass in the review department until “Heart Explodes” came on and opened my eyes once again to the majesty of the British quartet with its’ dense song structure, mature songwriting, and refined strength.
But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
“Rock and Roll Deserves To Die” is this epic Led Zeppelin meets Dio meets Meat Loaf balls out rawker and destined to be the be all end all of openers and the beginnings of one of the greatest Rawk Operas yet to be written (Is “Ropera” a term yet? Because it should be). Justin Hawkins is still such a powerful force behind the mic as this track reintroduces that uncanny maw and a bevy of vocal ranges. Next, “How Can I Lose Your Love” is a song that’s standard fare for The Darkness but no less potent with the full might of Justin and Dan Hawkins’ guitars on display like an AC/DC shredder mixed with the bravado of Queen.
Later, “Deck Chair” is a subtle yet intricate showcase for Justin Hawkins’ voice on a song that comes at you like Thom Yorke fronting Muse with Jeff Buckley on lead guitar. Then the title track drops and listeners can just feel that pure Rawk decadence is about to be had! Huge drums from Rufus Tiger Taylor, huge low end from Frankie Poullain, huge guitars from the Hawkins brothers, and Justin at the heart of the veritable Rawk storm with his signature wail is probably the most perfect combination on one of the most perfect Hard Rawk tracks of the year.
“Heavy Metal Lover” is spacious and daring, aping on the heavy sounds of the title character and causing for some fun out-of-the-box riffing from the band while “In Another Life” has some twang to it on an acoustic-driven anthem sure to be a new crowd favorite. “Choke On It” is another solid rawker before “We Are The Guitar Men”, like the closing number from a fantastic Ropera (I’m doing it!), closes Easter is Cancelled in grand fashion.
If you, like me, had forgotten about The Darkness after “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” came and went in the mid-aughts then I implore you to take a listen to this beast and rekindle your love for the band and, of course, the RAWK!
Easter Is Cancelled comes at you on October 4th via Cooking Vinyl. Pre-orders are live and available now in a variety of ways by clicking here. For more on The Darkness, follow them on the interwebs by clicking here or here.