Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: Dark Matter - Adrift (2010)

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Dark Matter is an instrumental three-piece from Limerick, Ireland whose members have cut their teeth in thrash and Gothic metal bands. These stylistic influences come through loud and clear on their debut EP Adrift, a four-song compilation that marks the guys of Dark Matter as bright songwriters and musicians.

Consciously eschewing vocals because they feel it restricts their creativity, Eoin Crowley (guitars, keys & synths), Mike Leonard (bass), and Dave O'Dowd (drums) instead opt to experiment with complimentary synth and guitar melodies to fabricate mood and atmosphere. There's a lot of post-rock inspiration at work on Adrift, particularly on the galactic "The Persistence of Memory", which calls to mind bands like Thrice, but by and large Dark Matter leaves no doubt that they are a metal outfit. "Compression Syndrome", for example, kicks out some seriously heavy riffs and double-kick to go along with the wistful synth and melancholy piano. The dark piano and undeniably Gothic atmosphere of "Monolith" would be the perfect canvass for some doom/death vocal artistry, but nevertheless stands strong in its current incarnation.

The one aspect of Dark Matter's sound that causes Adrift to stumble, albeit infrequently, is Eoin's lead work. On occasion he comes across as a bit hesitant, pensive, and self-restrained. A minor gripe, to be sure, and one that will easily be erased as Dark Matter refines their sound.

Adrift is a good, diverse and interesting start from a band that isn't afraid to challenge the "norms" of heavy metal. I'm looking forward to their next work to see how far they can stretch the boundaries.

Track Listing
2The Persistence of Memory5:18
3Compression Syndrome3:59
Total Runtime18:12

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