Album Review: Darko- “Sea of Trees”

Darko’s most recent EP release “Sea of Trees” is a gold mine.  Melodic, fast, ticked off, and powerful, Darko wastes no time blasting into powerful tracks right out of the gate.

The Surrey 5-piece seem to pull influences from everywhere, including everything from trash metal and pop punk (The singer described the band’s sound as “Anthrax finger banging Blink-182, and they’re loving it.’  Classy.) to grandiose 80’s arena rock.  It should sound confused and overworked, but it ends up as quite the opposite- honest, fast, and full-bodied.  The guitar work and drums here are highly technically polished not in a way which is process in a Macbook, but is based on hours spent practicing intricate transitions.

The opening introduction “Prologue (A Voice Unheard)” packs more interest into 30 seconds than some bands pack into an entire LP.  It doesn’t sound like an introductory track at all; instead it sounds like you cracked open a heavy bomb shelter door, and found an amazing concert already underway on the other side.  Rolling right into “Canthus Viewpoints” Darko pushes onward with vocals just slight off from “clean” while still melodic.  It’s Rancid-esq, in the best possible way.

“Atlas to Atlantis” is an exercise in concision at a quick speed, with sections (around the 2 minute mark) so melodic and sing-able they almost sound like… Fall Out Boy?  While normally that’s not a positive statement, those vocals crashing back into slamming drums and powerful guitar work result in a track that is far from processed radio mush.  And if there was ever doubt about the character of the band, the following track “Hanging Off a Memory” sounds nothing short of vicious.

Really, the EP keeps getting better as it chugs along.  “Timepieces and Lock Shaped Hearts” is probably going to get me a few speeding tickets.  And closer “Seaward” is an all-out assault. By the time singer Smith is bellowing at the end of the track, I’m hooked.

Really, the downside to this EP is that it’s not an LP. If the band can keep from becoming too much of a potential A Wilhelm Scream copy, then they are going to be on everyone’s must-have list.  This is a great sample of some new punk from across the pond, and I can’t wait to hear more.

Darko is about to kick off a small European tour.  Sea of Trees is out now, on Lockjaw records.

5/5 Stars (no, really.)

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