Darke Complex
Point Oblivion
(Spinefarm Records)

Look, I get it. I’m just some guy who gets to say what he thinks about music on the internet. I’m generally a glass half-full guy, so most of my reviews are positive (in large part because I prefer to honestly showcase artists I enjoy). However, there are a lot of voices discussing music (most of whom are much more influential), so I don’t take it to heart when a band ignores my recommendations (I really hope you don’t think I take myself seriously). That said, I’m a little disappointed in Darke Complex’s full-length debut after I found last year’s EP quite promising. The Texan band traffics in a nu-metal-influenced style of modern metalcore, and Widow was technical, haunting, and impressive, except for one glaring error: oddly-placed hip hop interventions. That’s not to say Point Oblivion is a failure, as the best parts of Widow are improved upon, but the worst parts of that EP have metastasized, unfortunately.

What Darke Complex had going for it was a sense of darkness and a truly powerful atmosphere. Point Oblivion feels even darke-r, and the compositions are much more complex. The group have clearly improved as songwriters, as their disparate influences (trap, electronic, soaring hard rock, and groove) often feel impressively cohesive when they’re performed within the same song. That doesn’t mean they always work, just that Darke Complex has done a good job making things feel less random. The numerous all hip hop tunes are odd and often detract from the momentum. “Marking Targets” and “Cold Blooded” immediately stick out, though more hip-hop heavy tunes like “Dead To Me” and “Void” are soiled by low-quality Hollywood Undead-style vocals. Basically, the bad parts of Point Oblivion are frustratingly bad and are a real turn-off from what Darke Complex does well.

Fortunately, the instances when the group fire on all cylinders offer signs of promise. “Nothing Within” and “One Of Us” are the best (notably sporadic) use of hip hop, but the choruses and guitar-work are impressive. “Abandoned” is genuinely moving, with its soaring songwriting and honest storytelling. Those aren’t the only positive moments, as the second half is decidedly more consistent that the oscillating quality of the first seven tracks. When Darke Complex nails it, they hammer it home (see “Memory Museum”).

The problem is that the uneven vocals and poorly constructed hip hop numbers weigh heavily on the overall quality of the album. Darke Complex are easily one of the most talented practitioners of the nu-metalcore movement, and Point Oblivion showcases a band not remotely content with playing by the rules. The album doubles down on everything that made Widow interesting, promising, and problematic. Who cares that some guy is disappointed that a band with potential didn’t live up to what he hoped they would be? However, when I can easily feel the passion in “Wounds” and want to sing/scream along, it’d be nice if I didn’t have to cringe when the next tune comes along. If you can handle rampant experimentalism and an aversion to pleasing anyone other than yourselves, then Darke Complex are a band for you. That said, it’s clear with Point Oblivion they aren’t hitting their full capability.

Purchase the album here.

2-half-stars

1 Comment

  1. Darke Complex blew me away in Des Moines. Critics of music and movies never sway me. It is to each their own and,for me, this is one of the hottest, fresh bands I have seen and heard in years. Love the band…madly!

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