Featured Demo

Dark Haven - Dark Haven

By: Eric Compton
Published: Friday, April 1, 2005
Dark Haven - Dark Haven EP

1. Nightmare
2. Revenant
3. Blackheart
4. Inter Dimentia
5. Your Darkest Hour

Band Website

What a sonic freight train this is, hauling the big iron on a railway headed for complete superiority and success. Really that is what we have here folks, a death defying supergroup on our hands with the ability and the know-how to take things to the next step in terms of this American Heavy Metal sound. California's Dark Haven have just released their first recording to date, a powerful and emotional demo that really puts on a pedestal just what these fine young lads are capable of.

As groups like As I Lay Dying and Arch Enemy work their way into metal's top tiers, young bands like Dark Haven and Lilitu are waiting in the wings, basically taking the same sort of formula and revising and recalculating it to fit their own vision of musical creativity. Through the same sort of physics as earlier works by In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, and Children Of Bodom, Dark Haven have created a stunning effort here, delivering five quality tracks that combine the darkest melodies with up-tempo speed and aggression. While so many bands will vent social frustrations through mindless, chaotic rhythms, this group have much more focus, reserving their energy and letting it flow artistically.

Guitarists Brennan Kilpatrick and Amy Zion combine on some fantastic riffs, mesmerizing the listener with their melody at high speeds. The two really have perfect chemistry together, with Kilpatrick providing most of the soaring leads and Zion staying true to form and delivering the crushing backing rhythms. Singer and bassist Brandon McLaughlin plays the perfect frontman for this outfit, really displaying raw energy through his sorrowful wails, a register that seems to combine the harsh output of Crowbar with the primitive black metal of Rotting Christ. It is an odd combo but a voice that works well here. Along with the sadistic voice comes cleaner vocals as well, with Kilpatrick providing some backing vocals. Keyboards are not overdone either, with well placed keys brought to life by Kent Crisp. The kit is manned by the talented Nate Falzon, who uses tons of patience here in distributing the aggression, something very rare considering the age of the individual.

Opener "Nightmare" is a blazing affair, really running the gauntlet of keyboards, aggression, and melody. This cut recalls the finest moments of Children Of Bodom, Throne Of Chaos, and Dark Tranquillity, all wrapped up in a dark cloak of goth. Favorite cuts for me are the massive, shellshocked grooves of "Blackheart" and "Your Darkest Hour". At times the band sound a bit like Georgia group Lilitu, who use the same sort of dark, gothic keyboard sound as a backing soundtrack to the melodic guitars and extreme vocals. Dark Tranquillity of course has made this famous as well, with that group probably being the closest to Dark Haven's sound. Fans of modern groups like As I Lay Dying and Still Remains will find plenty to like here as well.

You can hear samples of this demo at the band's official website, www.darkhavenmusic.com. You can also purchase this demo there as well for $8.

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