Hailing from Sweden, Darkane blend melodic death metal and technical thrash metal, yielding a highly energetic and wholly captivating sound that reminds me of early, Kill ‘Em All era Metallica at times, while calling to mind later day Slayer and newer bands like Mastodon and Opeth at others.
The Sinister Supremacy sees the return of vocalist Lawrence Mackrory, who previously sang on the group’s 1999 debut, Rusted Angel. Back then, Mackrory was the frontman of Forcefeed and F.K.Ü and had to prioritize those projects, meaning he couldn’t tour with Darkane, and so vocalist Andreas Sydow joined the band. When Sydow parted ways with the band during August 2007 they recruited Jens Broman (Construcdead, The Defaced) to be their new singer. Unfortunately, in the Spring of 2011 Broman dealt the band a potentially crippling blow when he stated that he wouldn’t be able to honor the band’s touring commitments. So, the band called up their old buddy Lawrence Mackrory and asked if he’d be interested in doing the tour. It went so well that they were soon welcoming him back as their permanent lead vocalist.
Early on during the album — particularly on the more melodic tracks like “Sounds of Pre-Existence” and “The Sinister Supremacy — Mackrory truly does seem to be channeling James Hetfield at his best. But later, during the brutally heavy tracks like “The Decline” and “Ostracized,” his vocals are more in the vein of In Flames’ vocalist Anders Fridén. To that end, The Sinister Supremacy was produced by Daniel Bergstrand, who’s known for his work with In Flames, Meshuggah and Dimmu Borgir, among others.
While each member of Darkane shines on the album, I have to specifically mention drummer Peter Wildoer, who’s easily one of the best metal drummers I’ve heard in a long time. I was especially impressed by the way he is able to flawlessly change his style to suit the individual songs, the technical thrash and death metal tracks often having a very different, distinctive vibe. I’m also impressed with the way the band as a whole is able to alternate between these styles — and everything in between — rather than sealing themselves strictly in a death metal or other specific mold. It makes perfect sense that a band that writes music from a purely artistic place like Darkane would not want to ever limit themselves to a certain style.