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(53 min, Nasoni)
TRACK LIST: 1. Pitiful Whining 3:33 2. Islanded 2:28 3. We Came Too Late 6:02 4. The Sky is Open Wide 4:45 5. Secrets 5:02 6. It all Happens Here 8:45 7. Together 2:27 8. I'm the End 3:59 9. Greed 3:59 10. Zero 1:35 11. Another Kind of Vibe 3:17 12. Take It 5:21 LINEUP: K. Soren Bengtson - guitars; vocals Patric Daneilsson - drums; vocals Marcus Pehrsson - bass; vocals With: Fredrik Sundqvist - violin
Prolusion. Sweden's DARXTAR has been in existence since 1989, and their discography counts six studio albums: "Darxtar" (1991), "Darker" (1993), "Daybreak" (1994), "SJU" (1996), "Tombola" (2001) and "We Came Too Late" (2005), most being acclaimed, at least critically. Since their next-to-last release the lineup has transformed from a sextet into trio, which is certainly a disturbing sign.
Analysis. There is little common ground between "We Came Too Late" and the previous Darxtar albums, on some of the songs the band's sound appearing to be nearly unrecognizable. No instrumentals among the twelve tracks present. With the exception of It all Happens Here, all of them are vocal heavy, besides which many represent just the endless alteration of the same couplet and refrain in the presence of one, at most two very brief instrumental interludes and in the absence of tempo changes. The amount of influences has grown. I thought Hawkwind would forever remain an all-absorbing passion for Darxtar, but only one of the four Space Rock ballads here, Islanded, can be referred to the legacy of their, say, initial benefactor. The others: We Came Too Late, Together and Take It are much in the style typical of the modern Space Rock trendsetters Porcupine Tree, which can probably be explained by the notorious "demands of the time". Zero, The Sky is Open Wide and Greed are more original, if only the concept of originality is applicable to an ordinary three-chord Hard Rock. As well as the title track, both of the latter feature passages of violin, but here they are performed almost exclusively in unison with guitar riffs. Secrets, I'm the End and Another Kind of Vibe are similar, though these also have at least a light touch of Darxtar's traditional style. Pitiful Whining and the aforementioned It all Happens Here are both moulded upon Hawkwind, but only the latter can hold out any pretension of being regarded as something worthy of the followers of the English Space Rock legend, thanks to the long instrumental section in the middle.
Conclusion. One of the biggest disappointments of the past year, "We Came Too Late" is quite superficial music, proto-progressive at best. Due to the busily repetitive nature of its content the album may get a wider success than any of Darxtar's previous releases, but it can hardly be of interest to traditional Prog Rock lovers.
VM: April 11, 2006
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