Darkology - Altered Reflections

Altered Reflections
Rock-a-Holics Records
Darkology is a band that comes from Ohio, Texas and was formed by the Harris brothers, Michael (Thought Chamber, Arch Rival, VitallijKurpij) & Brian (ex-Firewind, Zanister, etc.), who soon hooked up with Michael's high school friend and band mate, bassist Mike Neal (ex-Black Widow, ex-Salems Lot). Michael is a legendary (especially underground) guitarist who has always delivered great qualitative music albums (solo or not) for over 3 decades. Darkology is his brainchild, a child that was raised with the best elements of metal music, dark mystical atmospheres and a heavy power temperament. It took him several years to compose and record this album, using his great composing skills and his love for metal music and not only… when the recordings were over, Michael started trying to find a vocalist that would fit the whole musical amalgam. Thankfully, he contacted Kelly Sundown Carpenter the amazing vocalist behind the Outworld debut and the one who succeeded the mighty Jorn Lande of Masterplan and many others fame, in Beyond Twilight in late 2007. Sundown was thrilled by this proposal; he responded immediately and took the first plane to Ohio to record the vocals. Although the songs were ready (so were the vocal lines), Sundown managed to put his own unique “voice stamp” in the songs. Having heard some “demo” versions of some songs… I must say that Kelly indeed ameliorated them… he is really talented; I totally believe that, with Rob getting older and older and with “Ripper” having failed our great expectations, Sundown is among the top 3 metal singers… if not the best of our time. He has the best elements of the aforementioned singers plus, he is younger and at the beginning to take on the world. He can totally make it and with a bit of luck, he can have a career equivalent to the abovementioned vocalists.
Musically “Altered Reflections” offers something really fresh, heavy and dark in the metal scene. Just imagine a heavy/power musical base with dark atmospheres, progressive influences (with some jazzy elements here and there), powerful vocals (with some theatrical vibes) plus great lyrical concepts (some mythological references to Ancient Greek Mythology). The performances here are all executed on high level… Michael plays simply incredible… well, what more to say about this guitar wizard… Brian is a real drum torturer (it’s true bro)… Mike makes the whole scene heavier with his bass lines and Sundown can easily surprise you with his magnificent vocal skills.
On a track by track “journey” the album opens with a small intro and right on to “Violent Vertigo”. What a song… the most straight forward heavy song of the album… great guitar riffs, super drumming and a fantastic refrain that you will sing again and again… surely a superb song to open an album.
“I Bleed” is a down-tempo song, heavy, a little “doomed”, very gloomy with fantastic lyrics and a tremendous performance by the whole band and especially Sundown on the vocals. This song will haunt you for a long time. This tune was also released as a video clip - (you can see it below).
“Dark Energy” is an “obscure” heavy/power/thrash song with nice variations on its structure and a very clever jazzy break before the solo.
“Nobot” is one of my beloved songs… straight heavy tune with a great futuristic sci-fi lyrical concept and a unique “theatrical” performance by Sundown (soon to be a “Nobot 2” out - let’s cross our fingers). Outstanding!
“Eyes of Argus” is a powerful mid-tempo song with a mythological concept (do you really know who Argus is… and how many eyes he has…). Once again the prog structure of this song gives Sundown more room to impress us with his performances.
“Alone” is a heavy metal song (but with some prog breaks) with a dominant double bass drumming and some great guitars (solo and rhythm). One of the heavy prog songs that defines the whole album… terrific guitars, heavy rhythm section and Sundown’s excellent vocals… a great prog/jazzy passage before the end of the song.
The most up-front heavy tune of the album is “Revitalize”... a classic heavy metal track.
For the end, we have, the 9-minute epic “Trance of the Gorgons”… a truly unique mythological concept (one of the best that I have read so far). This song is simply brilliant! The orchestration is fantastic and the themes (heavy and acoustic) are eccentric… once more Sundown will leave you breathless with his exceptional “theatrical” performances.
The CD comes in a special matt UV digipack with a 24-page booklet, designed by John Holland. The packaging is very impressive and adds another plus on the release. The album has also been released in vinyl format (green & splattered) for limited copies only.
Do not bypass this album by any means… you will totally regret it afterwards; years later when this one will be one of the few “lost gems” of heavy/power progmetal music. “Altered Reflections” is, probably, the best heavy-progmetal album of the last decade. Darkology is the Future of Metal!