Back in the mid 80’s when the crimping iron was king and glam-rock-metal kids wore makeup in the fashion of Poison, a movie came out that was so bad it was absolutely brilliant – Maximum Overdrive. The villain was a big rig truck wearing a Green Goblin mask, the hero was Emilio Estevez, and the director was none other than the master of horror himself, Stephen King. Trucks, lawnmowers and even vending machines turned homicidal in a film King himself would admit to being done as he was “coked out of his mind.” Ultimately it was a film that stretched “suspension of disbelief” beyond any reasonable limit.
Well, I certainly can’t say what or even if The Darkness was ‘on anything’ but it certainly takes a sense of humour to enjoy this record. The Darkness always seemed to have their tongue planted firmly in cheek, but now I have my doubts. You see, I’m not quite sure if this is a band that takes itself seriously or not anymore; and I’m not sure if their intention is rock supremacy or parody; I just know that the guitar “licks” are straight from the era of Whitesnake, White Lion and vocals are over the top cliché. The big hair 80’s had music was catchy, the subjects silly and spandex was thought to be cool.
From track number one “Barbarian” the axe swings a heavy blow against… well… it swings a mighty blow, and the falsetto screams of… well… screams. “Reducing the feeble citadels to ashes and blood stain / enslaving the sweet women folk / while every man is slain” is hilarious in its “epic-ness” as a description of story rather than storytelling itself.
Things get even more… um… colossal (that sounds good) throughout the record as The Darkness take on sounds of Queen doing the soundtrack for Flash Gordon. We are told to “open up your mighty wings and fly” in that high pitch testimonial climax on “Mighty Wings.” Regardless, it has all those metal moments of high drama and sound. You can imagine waves crashing, lightning flashing, broken hearts and quests for the nature of existence.
It isn’t that The Darkness have put out a bad record, it’s just that like Maximum Overdrive it stretches the “suspension of disbelief” beyond my capacity. Do they know they have broken the forth wall down and have in essence become a musical episode of Disney’s Phineas & Ferb? Is Last Of Our Kind a parody, and if so, who is it a parody of?
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…and they have one of the best Christmas songs of all time!!!