Thursday, December 28, 2023

Full Length Review: Darko US "Oni" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: Darko US
Country: USA
Genre: Experimental deathcore
Full length: Oni
Format: Digital
Label: Independent
Release date: September 26, 2022
Another side project I came across by chance, that is secure in their genre(s) while disregarding the perceived rules associated with them. Named after a demon of Japanese folklore with possible origins in Buddhist beliefs, Darko US’ album “Oni”, their third release since 2020, lives up to the depictions of those demons in traditional art and legend.
When Tom Barber (also of Chelsea Grin) and Josh Miller (also of Spite) pool their resources, you can bet its something memorable. Darko has a way of crafting their songwriting to give their material a theatrical sound that comes across as concept driven. Not quite like more well-known death core and math metal bands, but sometimes something will surface and trigger recognition of those artists you’re familiar with. Appealing to Meshuggah and Mastodon camps, Darko US multiplies the elements to imbue “Oni” with several distinct levels of ponderous motion, syncopation and ambience.
What’s more, they’ve managed to get attention in the industry without any advertising, label backing or even live exposure. While you may wonder how a band could shatter any and all methods of getting publicity, it might have something to do with their multi-instrumentalism and an instinctual sense of what many metal fans want to hear. Darko US sounds like an act that embarked upon a free form of evolution, without outside interference, and developed a sincerity that speaks to people.
The intro track and the beginning of the following track paints bone chilling environs where you don’t expect the band’s heavy factors to enter the picture. It’s more like what you’d expect from the soundtrack of “Blade Runner 2049” or “The Matrix”. Massive heaviness arrives as a counterpoint to what was previously established, making room for inklings of death metal, hip hop, EDM, industrial, nu metal and some jazz and prog rock, with themes including science fiction and existentialism. It doesn’t have the impact of a weight, but constant gravity pulling you inexorably into the ground.
Darko US is indiscriminate of what they write and, equally indiscriminate about how they write. Exploring as many opportunities as possible to test unheard of arrangements, they’re perfecting tight transitions for every time and mood change and injecting songs seemingly unrelated to the rest of this album, but fitting when you consider the big picture. They’re likewise perfecting an adeptness at arranging songs in a completely unpredictable manner, crammed with different sounds, and you won’t find their implementation tedious or monotonous in the slightest. –Dave Wolff

Tom Barber: Vocals
Josh ‘Baby J’ Miller: Guitars, drums

Track list:
1. Begin
2. Looking Glass
3. Hyperkill feat. Ryo Kinoshita of Crystal Lake
4. Dragon Chaser
5. Rosaria’s Fingers feat. Kyle Anderson of Brand of Sacrifice
6. Infinite Beauty
7. Evolving feat. Shaolin G of UnityTX
8. R.T.G.O.B
9. Gantz
10. Oni
11. Ana feat. Taylor Barber of Left To Suffer
12. Sand Script
13. Acid Inject
14. Come Home feat. Rory Rodriguez of Dayseeker
15. Redo

More videos available for streaming at Youtube

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