Sense Your Darkness
5/26/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
Kinrick - Sense Your Darkness - 2005 - Leviathan Records
Those of you looking for those "super group" albums, those stellar all-star events where everyone is a big time player, look no further than Leviathan Records' very own Kinrick. The band's name itself is a perfect example of the type of talent and metal passion existing in this project, with famed guitarist Corbin King making up the first half and amazing vocalist Stephen Fredrick making up the last half, thus we have Kinrick. Those of you unaware of Corbin King, he has laid down some massive chops with his band Vainglory, who managed to release one killer release with "2050". King has often been described as one of the most talented young guitarists to come up on the scene in a long time. In someway he is looked at in the same light as Greece's very own string ace Gus G. Which brings me to former Gus G. band mate Stephen Fredrick, who cut his teeth with neo-classical act Kenziner before stepping in to sing on the first two Firewind releases. His powerful pipes fit well in the Firewind camp, backed by Gus G's monstrous grooves and catchy hooks. As if those franchise players aren't enough, add in drummer Stian Kristoffersen, who played on the last two Firewind albums, as well as bassist James Martin, who has put his bumblebee bass signature on Zanister's "Fear No Man" record. AND if that doesn't get you near a online shop soon, neo-classical guitar legend David Chastain has written, produced, mixed, and mastered "Sense Your Darkness", putting his icon touch and blessing on this top shelf brand of classic heavy metal.
"Sense Your Darkness" is hands down one of my favorite albums to be released in this already competitive early 2005. With new releases from the likes of Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson, and Overkill, Kinrick holds its own, really going miles beyond the new Priest and delivering a true metal affair, one that doesn't compromise the integrity of heavy metal fans. This is just an uncontested heavyweight with the talent and drive to go to the top, Kinrick leading the way for so many young metal hopefuls plugging in and turning up. In many ways Kinrick really harkens back to the classic metal days, not going into the New Wave camp so much, instead focusing maybe on mid-80s styling. American metal acts such as Malice, Warrior, Vicious Rumors, and even a less high strung Omen come to mind when playing "Sense Your Darkness". Obviously with songs penned by the talented David Chastain, Chastain records like "Ruler Of The Wasteland" and "Voice Of The Cult" are going to come to mind. Chastain just has that unique writing style, that man versus THE MAN type of themes running rampant through his written battle cries. The writing is a bit aggressive and even comes across as a bit angry, but the band manages to harness the anger, controlling it and riding it through the firestorm.
Really in all honesty, there are no faults here. No errors, no misses, just completely solid from one to ten. Corbin King plays the vengeful guitar god perfectly, playing some well timed straight forward riffs, at times bordering on Tony Iommi's doomy style, but for the most part just delivering mid-tempo grooves with some exceptional lead playing. I mentioned earlier that vocalist Stephen Fredrick fit well in Firewind with Gus G. laying down the chops behind him. That turns out to be the same sort of pattern here, Fredrick just burning it up with his strong, aggressive voice, allowing King plenty of time to deliver that "wall of sound" between verses. I have a hard time comparing Stephen Fredrick to anyone in the metal world, he doesn't have a high register, nor does he come across as low and raspy. His delivery is crystal clear, mid-tempo, and just absolutely addictive with a wicked, almost sinister tone.
If metal still had singles, "I Fight Alone" would get my vote as best cut of the year. This is just a stirring, emotional call to arms. Really one of those "stand up and shout" type of foot stompers, a strong, effective track that really moves and sways as Fredrick rides into battle. About mid-way through King just explodes into a lead frenzy before slowing down to a titanic groove. Most cuts are on the move rather quickly, shaking through American pastures with strong metallic anthems like "Call Of Honor", "Stand Up And Fight", and the blue-collar tribute of "Make Me A Man". The songwriting is extremely interesting to me, with many "resistance" themes at play, evident on "I Fight Alone", "Call Of Honor", and "The Empire Falls Again". I can't pinpoint the message behind "For Your Evil", but I assume it is directed at US president George W. Bush. Some strong Sabbath style cuts are certainly present here as well, going into the doom with "Through The Void" as well as title track "Sense Your Darkness". Favorites for me are "Call Of Honor", "I Fight Alone", "Stand Up And Fight", and "Against The Empire".
This is just an amazing addition to the fantastic Leviathan Records roster. I hope and pray that Kinrick isn't going to be a one off effort, with this much talent on board let's hope that the guys return again to create many more albums like this. This one will be hard to follow-up, but I have tremendous faith in these metal superstars. I'm sure many of them will be busy with their individual priorities, but at some point Kinrick will have to become a priority in itself. This stuff is just to damn good! Highly recommended for those of you looking for some real "meat and potatoes" metal. This one holds nothing back.
Note - "Sense Your Darkness" has a different album cover for the Euro pressing through Majestic Rock.
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