Doomriders’ 2007 debut, Black Thunder, did two things in the context of modern metal—one, it put to plastic the growing influence of Mastodon’s sound without blatantly aping it, and two, it reminded everyone how much Entombed rules. Fronted by Nate Newton of Converge, it was a refreshing bit of kick-ass hard rock that didn’t try to be AC/DC and sell a thousand records, it just wanted to rock in most metal of ways, if that makes sense (it should).
Now, with Darkness Comes Alive coming out on the eve of a new Converge full-length (which is brutal by the way—more on that in a future edition of The Aquarian!), Doomriders essentially follow the trail they re-blazed through an overgrown landscape of bands either too serious to truly rock or too tongue-in-cheek to be taken seriously. Listen to a track like “Bloodsuckers” and it’s easy to tell they’re not fucking around, but at the same time, this isn’t supposed to be a magnum opus.
There are moments, however, where the band’s handling of the scalpel is more careful than it may first appear. “Jealous God,” which seems almost aggressively simple at first opens up into a meticulous atmosphere of phased guitars before attempting—tastefully, mind you—the famed double lead. But they don’t let it for more than 30 seconds. No point in repeating yourself.
And it’s parts of Darkness like that which clearly make it a step forward from the comparatively underplayed Black Thunder. A strong contender for Top Ten this year.