After spending the better part of the past decade cutting their teeth on a string of EPs and singles, Darko are entering the realm of full length albums. Bonsai Mammoth, the band’s debut LP, sees the band coming out with fists swinging and guitars blazing.
“Life Forms” kicks off the album, with a slow intro before launching into a high energy ripper, setting the tone of things to come. Like all great skate punk acts, Darko make use of dueling guitar leads to give their songs an urgent feeling, ripping through notes at lightning speeds. The band continues to keep up the pace for nearly the entire duration of Bonsai Mammoth, giving listeners only a 35 second break in the form of “The Chernobyl Effect,” which acts as an interlude between the album’s first and second halves.
Early promotional materials for Bonsai Mammoth state that the album breaks apart from the band’s previous conceptual narratives. While that may be true on a technical level (there’s certainly no fictional story to follow from track-to-track), there’s still an underlying current of despair and the search for hope, giving the album a sense of cohesiveness and unity. The aforementioned “Life Forms” declares the band’s autonomy and apathy right from the get-go: “I don’t wanna be a part of it and I don’t care for all of this shit.” This might not be the most original of defiant statements, but it’s surely what a lot of people are feeling all over the world given the current state of things.
2017 may have only just begun, but it’s already in dire need of an aggressive soundtrack. Darko and Bonsai Mammoth are there to start things off.
4 / 5
RIYL: Propagandhi, A Wilhelm Scream, Brutal Youth