EP REVIEW: Darko (US) – Pt. 1, Dethmask

Release Date: June 6th 2020
Label: Unsigned
Website: www.darkoband.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/darkoband0
Twitter: None available


For all-out savagery, you’re pretty much spoilt for choice these days, and simultaneously it seems like very few genres have been proven to be too disparate to merge together, something that some stalwarts of heavy music know very well.

With a very clearly defined sound and aesthetic, vocalist Tom Barber (Chelsea Grin) and drummer Josh “Baby J” Miller (Emmure) have joined together for a new project, Darko, which sees them expanding upon the genre they’re both associated with on their debut EP, ‘Pt. 1, Dethmask’.

‘Get G00d’ has an industrial inspired breakdown to set the scene, but the almost title-track ‘Deth Msk’ has a discordant, haphazard introduction which leads into a bone-crushing breakdown. Off-kilter sounds are occasionally introduced, making for more unpredictability which more deathcore acts could certainly use a dose of. The ending has an industrial break (a la Code Orange) before ‘:The Obsrvr’, which is a terrifying interlude of what sounds like a violent argument. It’s certainly shocking, and the impact of this will not leave you.

‘(Devine Void)’ is back to pummel us into submission again, and we also get a clean vocal hook to restore some balance. With some more discordant guitars completing the song, it’s another whistle-stop tour of everything that the duo can do.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, we have another surprise with ‘Recolektion’, a synth wave outro to close the EP out. It sounds like an interlude that would normally divide up a release, but if there is a part 2 on the way (and we can only assume that there is), then they could be connected in some way to its contents.

For a first EP, ‘Pt. 1, Dethmask’ is undoubtedly impressive with a large amount of ground being covered in just 14 minutes. The title suggests that there’ll be more to come, and it’ll be intriguing to see what Darko will do next.