It seems that the re-emerging element in the piecing together of a great album revolves around strength. Whether it be strength in vocals, computer programming, instrumentation, colourful songwriting or the strong points of kinetic band activity – it’s essential in combining the qualities needed to express the product of great songwriting. This is evident in a well-balanced album and the forbearing component in Beware Of Darkness’ second and latest studio record instalment. It’s been 3 years since the three-piece from Los Angeles gave us their debut record Orthodox, which at a glance is contrastingly different to the band’s current soundscapes. Are You Real? wades through murky vintage waters, holding onto a crystal clear rock focus and inescapable mechanical enthusiasm.
When the album begins with Muthafucka, the tone is set and the vision is clear. There’s no fussing about with gimmicks or over saturated song-writing – It’s straight to the point and equally noble as it is powerful and robust. Bending vocal confirmations circulate around distorted guitar implements and select percussive features. Kyle Nicolaides wields his vocals like an instrument in its own right, carrying moods and flickers of pain as he navigates well into track 2 – Blood, Sex, Violence & Murder. There’s a great deal of effort in terms of ranging sound considering this only a 3 piece outfit. Well mastered thoughts aid in favour to the band, beseeching confidence in each member’s playing styles. This connection is widely explored in the track Dope. Whether it’s Nicolaides poetic vocal mesmerising momentum, or the snare snap motions of drummer Tony Cupito against the quaking bass reinforcement courtesy of Daniel Curcio – the track reflects a sinister side of extreme rock exercises and a fulfilling comfort both memorable and sweet. Tell Me This Is Fate sounds like the Arctic Monkeys jamming with Melvins, while Angel favours a deep sub-bass electronica mist before erupting into a hard heavy rock breakdown. Surrender follows a recollective grunge recollection, whereas Hieroglyphics controls a harder and gradual rate post-metal sound perhaps more expected from an early Korn or Nine Inch Nails output. Then there are the softer subtleties embodied in the soothing last breath of Delirium – tieing together a heavy and amicable record.
Over the course of the album, there is boundless musical evidence that suggests Beware Of Darkness have found their sound. That’s not to say there the previous album was bleak or lacklustre in comparison, but the cohesion and direction exhibited in Are You Real? absorbs a greater deal of assuring charm and recognisable amounts of sound strength.