Sea Of Trees EP

Written by: PP on 22/12/2014 23:07:21

Darko originate from Guildford, UK, which is incidentally the town I spent four years in doing my bachelor's degree in mid 2000s. Over the years I've run into several good outfits from the city, these guys being the latest one. They play a lightning fast brand of technical punk that's very clearly inspired by the advanced fretwork and dark atmosphere on later Strung Out records, "Agents Of The Underground" and "Blackhawks Over Los Angeles" at the forefront. But in between we also have lovable notions towards skate punk (This Is A Standoff and technical skate punk legends Belvedere come to mind), and also the more aggressive and hardcore punk driven form of the genre celebrated by A Wilhelm Scream, whom the band incidentally spent some time touring with this year.

"Sea Of Trees" EP contains six tracks' worth of display what it really means to shred with a guitar. The aggressively technical riffs are at times unbelievable in their difficulty, especially considering the breakneck speed pace they are delivered with throughout the record. A track like "Timepieces And Lock Shaped hearts" could virtually be a song by A Wilhelm Scream both in terms of its technical aspiration instrumentally, its hardcore base, and the vocal dynamic complete with backing shouts. Sadly, the vocal melodies are what drag the EP down a notch overall. While gruff and roughened enough to fit the heavier and tighter form of punk rock than the norm in the genre, they are seldom as memorable and likely to incite fist-pumping responses live as ones by any of the bands mentioned so far in this review. There are exceptions, though, such as "Hanging Off A Memory" and "Atlas To Atlantis", which suggest that given better production, Darko should be a force to be reckoned with on the national punk scene in the UK.

In any case, it's difficult not to be impressed by the sheer technical wizardry on display throughout the records, and then again, the vocals aren't even that bad in the end. The melodic hardcore punk base is exactly what Darko should be pursuing in the future: if they're able to pull off an equally good vocal performance as, say, A Wilhelm Scream, then they'll have a modern classic in their hands. Here's to hoping for just that on their debut full length.


Download: Atlas To Atlantis, Hanging Off A Memory
For the fans of: Strung Out, Belvedere, A Wilhelm Scream
Listen: Facebook

Release date 08.09.2014
Lockjaw Records

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