There is a buzz in the streets of Athens’s underground metal scene for the last couple of weeks about a new epic metal band called Darklon and their debut album Rise from Death. So after investigating further and contacting the band, we got our hands on their unreleased album and what we’ve heard justified the ruckus.
While the band is relatively new, the members are veterans of the Athenian metal scene. Guitarist Kostas Krasonis was part of epic metallers Embrace Fire who released their one and only album 13 years ago, while vocalist Nick Protonotarios and bassist Chris Stergianidis worked in power metal band Paladine together. Recording drummer is Νikos Papavasilis, who has since been replaced by Sevan Barsam of Memorain and Karma Violens fame.
The first track of Rise from Death is “Beheaded”, a fast-paced epic song, that feels very “Greek” along the lines of Reflection and Wrathblade. The track is fueled with power and emphatically drops its pace during choruses to create this “march feeling” that similar bands often use.
After listening to the first few notes of Rise of Death, the influences of the band become instantaneously evident: Omen and Jag Panzer to name a couple – Darklon blends the American and the Greek epic sound. Apart from the aforementioned bands, Darklon’s sound reminds me a bit of the “dark” power metal of Dark at Dawn and the vocal-based epic metal of Visigoth.
The next song is “Arise Chariot”, which was the first song I heard from the band and initially made my spider senses tingle. It still is my favorite track off the album, especially for the amazing work of the vocals in terms of conception and execution. This track alone checking the album worth it, I have no higher praise.
Track no 3, titled “Darklon”, is one of the albums heaviest songs, with an aggressive intro riff. The guitar and vocals continuously trade places as the prominent instrument, until the solo, which i believe it’s Kostas’s best in this record.
“Sectarian of Blood” comes next, which I feel the band wrote it with a live show performance in their back of their mind. The rhythmic drum beating in the start along with the anthemic chorus will work quite nicely on stage.
The 5th song of the album called “Guillotine”, comes with the realization that the band managed to give each and every song so far something different since no two songs sound similar. Beginning with the slashing sound of a guillotine and ending with a slashing chorus, is one of the album’s highest points.
The next song, “Ashes I Stand” is the track that gave me that Dark at Dawn vibe I mentioned at the beginning. Dark and filled with passion, the song leaves you with a taste of blood in your mouth. Darklon here manages to create a warlike atmosphere using a minimalistic approach in riffs and effects.
“The Serpent King” which follows has a very catchy chorus, something that the band really focused on for the whole album. Again, we encounter elements of greek epic metal in terms of songwriting and instrumentalization.
The last song of Darklon’s debut is “Hammer on the Nail”, starts with one of the albums most aggressive riff and drumming, only to give way to a slow commanding chorus with one of the most interesting vocal arrangement of the album.
Cool ideas and influences. What the band is trying to achieve here is to differentiate themselves from other epic metal bands in an already overpopulated genre, and I believe they succeed at that, with the blending of Greek and US metal style. The guitar riffs are very nice and creative and they also did a great job on writing the vocal lines and choruses, which is something very important in modern traditional heavy metal.
Nothing major, I would prefer the production to be different, a bigger focus on the guitar to “fill” the songs better and sound more powerful, but that’s a stylistic approach the band made. Also, I get the feeling that Darklon took a more modern and polished approach when they produced the record and I would definitely prefer something more old school. The lyrics certainly work for the songs, but if there is one thing the band can improve that would be it without changing the theme.
Rise from Death is a solid release, a pleasant surprise and I am really happy to see a promising new band to join the scene. I can see them going places in the soon given the fact that the issues we pointed out don’t hinder their progress. I would suggest Rise from Death for fans of the classic American epic power metal, as well as fans of the greek epic metal sound.
Darklon – Rise from Death will be released on September 15, 2019, by Eat Metal Records.
Favorite track: Arise Chariot
Album rating: 75/100