German DARK AGE are a band that is very hit and miss with me. Not that I like some of their albums and others I don’t, but rather that I seem to only catch them once in a blue moon, despite a fairly consistent flow of releases. “Acedia” is the band’s sixth album and only the second one I actually come across and I had enjoyed their self-titled record in 2004, so I was looking forward to “Acedia”.
One thing that set me off on a sour note was a note “the production has become more important than the material” in the info sheet, and the sad thing is that it seems as if the band has implemented this one to one on this album, because the production values are amazing, very clear, very crisp and very powerful, but the song department leaves quite a few things to be desired, which unhinges the balance quite successfully.
Eike Freese, vocalist and guitarist and to my knowledge also main songwriter, utilizes a dual vocal attack, growls and clear, which is nothing new, but the music underneath is decidedly more modern and trendy and with less substance than before, which is something new, but in the wrong way. “Kingdom Nevercome” gets off to a good start, with nice energy, then it switches to electronics with modern guitars and growls, before an extremely catchy and cleanly sung chorus takes control, which really goes into the ear well, but is very “sweet” sounding. And this is not the exception, because we find this throughout the album, growls and clear, modern guitars, super catchy chorus, electronics and an overall very modern at times almost Metalcore related vibe swinging through.
And if that was not bad enough for older fans that had liked the mix of Melo Death and darker atmosphere back then, we also get “treated” to tracks such as “Neon Garden” and “Zeitgeist (Ghost In A Machine)” that drench any hopeful seedlings that I had found in the riffs or atmospheres of already mentioned “Kingdom Nevercome” (I tell you, that chorus will stick like super glue!), “10 Steps To Nausea” or some parts of “Halo Meridian” with their highly modern approach of electronics, Industrial dance rhythm and machine-like vocals (especially “Zeitgeist”), completely breaking with what they have done in the past and sounding almost as if they are trying to prostitute themselves towards the fans of the modern and trendy sounds.
Now I definitely am not the right person to judge about the modern mainstreams of Metal and related stuff, but as a fan of what DARK AGE used to sound like, I must say that for the most part I am highly disappointed with “Acedia”, but if you could imagine to like a mix of all of the above, then this might be for you, but if you don’t have any inclinations to embrace the modern and trendy side of the genre, you might just as well keep your fingers off this album from the beginning...
(Online November 16, 2010)