Without a plaintive twang in sight, Dark Hound presents a new side to the assumed Nashville music scene though new album Dawning. Hear the Tennessee capital’s name and you automatically think country music in its glory but the ear grabbing quartet prove that its metal scene is in pretty good shape too.
Dawning is the band’s second album and sees them more than build on their well-received Oceans EP of 2015. That followed a self-titled debut full-length from a year earlier which itself sparked strong support across the local rock and metal scene. Formed in 2009, Dark Hound has persistently built and earned a potent reputation for themselves highlighted by Oceans and now set to be escalated by the Kaelin Tauxe/Dark Hound produced Dawning.
The band’s sound is a magnetic mix of flavours; heavy, alternative, and groove metal as prevalent as more progressive and voracious flavours. It is a blend which swiftly grabs attention within opener album Ashes of Your Worth. Instantly riffs ride the senses, the just as persuasive tones of vocalist/bassist ET Brown melodically surfing their tenacious waves. With grooves swiftly winding around ears as a grunge wash descends the track only tightens its grip, guitarists Evan Hensley and Preston Walls weaving a mesh of enterprise as crafty as it is imposing. The track is superb, taking little time to incite and inflame an appetite for stylish yet instinctively rapacious rock ‘n’ roll.
The ticking bomb of Josh Brown’s beats leads in the following Guilt Tripper, his bait accompanied by citric soaked grooves. The punk coated attack of ET’s voice soon joins the thrash spiced temptation, his bass invitingly throbbing as melodic hues infest voice and sound; the cycle repeating with greater endeavour as the track embraces fresh flavours each round. The song bears some of the inspirations to Dark Hound, essences of bands such as Megadeth, Iron Maiden, and more so Testament rising in its heavy metal exploits before making way for the equally infectious trespass of Carnival of Youth. ET’s seemingly calm tones again have an underlying snarl in their arsenal, it igniting with raw dexterity to match the fire of the sounds around him led by the rapier swings of Josh. Captivating from beginning to end, the track reminds of UK band Promethium a touch, the Dark Hound sound infusing their individual invention with more familiar ingredients to fine effect.
The opening whirl of guitar in The Answer had ears totally enthralled, its craft irresistible and continues to tempt across a song which to be honest otherwise did not make the same impact as its predecessors yet was the centre of attention in its increasingly enjoyable company before Crisis of Hope takes centre stage. It too makes a transfixing entrance, its hook fuelled lure Skids like and subsequently coring an emerging Jane’s Addiction-esque stroll. As the previous song, it was bit of a slow burner on ears though making a more than decent first impression, but grew minute by minute, listen by listen into another highly enjoyable encounter within Dawning if still missing the heights of the first trio.
Predacious in tone and sound Thrown to the Wolves quickly hits the spot next, the track almost crawling over the senses even with its eventual lively gait and nagging persistence while Stripped Away aligns acoustic flirtation and creative drama for its own gripping theatre. Considered and seductive, boisterous veering on rabid, the song is a carousel of adventure making a big statement for best song, both tracks in the running and matched all the way by the raucous yet harmonically teasing Balancing Act. Again recognisable flavours collude with strong surprises for a proposal which infested ears and appetite like an aural addiction.
Through the shadowed lined charge of The Jagged Edge pleasure was constant though certain moments did not connect with personal tastes as firmly as others, nothing though to dismiss the increasingly persuasive encounter over, while Thrashgasm delivered exactly what you would expect with its title with aggression and creative passion energy, the snarl of the bass and the ever energetic vocal incitement especially enjoyable.
The album concludes with Here Lies Truth and immediately trespasses ears with carnal riffs and teasingly salacious grooves. Again vocals simply draw involvement as guitars badger and conjure, rhythms imposing and driving song and spirit in fine style alongside as Dawning closes on another high
After the first couple of involvements we would have said Dark Hound had something worth checking out, numerous listens later it is a proposition which needs to be explored. This is a fine band in the making with an album we have found ourselves only getting greedier over.
Dawning is released digitally and on CD January 19th, available @ https://darkhound.bandcamp.com/album/dawning
Pete RingMaster 19/01/2018
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