Our Darkest Days

Snakes & Ladders

Written by: PP on 04/01/2022 19:58:03

Our Darkest Days is an intensely technical skate punk band from Quebec, Canada. Their sophomore album "Snakes & Ladders" features pedal-to-the-floor tempo, high-pitched clean vocals, tight percussion, and intricate fretwork, making you occasionally wonder whether you accidentally tossed on a metal album instead. Sounds familiar? That's because that very description applies almost verbatim to bands like MUTE, Satanic Surfers, Atlas Losing Grip, Belvedere, and many others, whose influence Our Darkest Days wear very visibly (and likely, proudly) on their collective sleeves.

Reading through the litany of guest artists performing on the record you'll find MUTE's Etienne Dionne on "Against All Odds", Belvedere's Steve Rawles on "These Fast Times" and Adhesive's Geir Pedersen on "Silence Is Golden", all well-known figures within the skate punk scene. Outside their contributions, it's a nonstop onslaught of breakneck speed technicality thrown in your face. The guitars offer racy solos and aggressive shredding, forming the absolute high point of the soundscape. But where Our Darkest Days is at its weakest is in the vocals department. The high-pitched, clean delivery blends too much together, rarely showcasing enough catchy hooks that would tie the labyrinth fretwork together. It's exactly the same problem that both Atlas Losing Grip and Satanic Surfers had throughout the years: it's just not memorable enough to reel in outsiders not already within the tight confines of the technical skate punk scene.

Perhaps if the instrumentation would vary instead, it'd suffice, but alas. Our Darkest Days seem afraid that anything apart from lightning speed tempo would break their uniform expression. It means that once you absorb the initial shock from their incredible technical talent, "Snakes & Ladders" feels anonymous in the grand scheme of things, especially considering how similar it sounds to so many other bands playing this very genre.

Download: Against All Odds, Lost For Words
For the fans of: Satanic Surfers, Mute, Atlas Losing Grip, Belvedere, After The Fall
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.11.2021
Thousand Islands Records / Lockjaw Records

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