The info tells me that I’m dealing with a past cult figure in the French Metal scene, a trio, located in the city of Montpellier, whose musical baby steps began with “Avantgardish Atmospheric Death Doom Metal”, then regressed into simplified Gothic Metal, supposedly because the band went through deep searches of their inner self and in the end finding their true identity. Originally formed under the name DARKEN, in which they released one demo and a well received debut titled “Arcane XIII”, their sound obviously needed to go through changes, why I’m not sure. The band returned to the scene as DARK-N in 2004, the pronunciation of their original moniker stayed the same but according to the stylistical changes, the music didn’t.
The band belongs to a definite genre, they’re Gothic Metal with no sub genres are included. There’s a firm belief in the songs, always a good thing but I hope they don’t claim to be varied in their approach because if they do, I’d say it’s a load of bunk. “Loading Complete” sounds like “Discouraged Ones” or “Tonight’s Decision” recorded 10 years later than the original masterstrokes, simplest of song writing methods turned into effective Melodic Downhearted Metal. PARADISE LOST idolatry comes across in the shocking reminiscence of catchy lead guitars closer to Greg Mackintosh brilliance than Anders Nyström simplistic motives. Even more copied are the borrowed chords from genius albums like “Icon” and “Draconian Times”, a track like “Thinkin”, shows that they know how to make business with veterans in the field, the track’s so similar to P.L.’s guitar basics it could’ve been a b-side the Brits agreed in handing over, must’ve taken some lengthy persuasion, English people aren’t fooled so easily.
So why am I moaning? I’m not, KATATONIA and PARADISE LOST ought to be good names to be associated with, the quality just doesn’t justify these comparisons, I’d rather have little or no association in this genre, but alas, it’s seems to be hard to hear a fresh gothic band doing something new, why aren’t there more TRISTANIA’s or EVEREVE’s out there? The neat re-design of THE CURE’s “Lullaby” is well done but simply doesn’t write anything interesting about their own vision, every Goth band out there could do this track with respective results.
In just about every track there’s plenty of repetitive lead guitar going for that hypnotising effect, heavy’n’rocking rhythms makes room for some head banging and the steady rhythm section is just playing along because that’s what it’s supposed to do, everything’s so simple with this band. A break from the dismayed norms finally comes to light in the standard Goth scribed ballad “Sorry”, but it’s not close to being exciting, KATATONIA did this so much better on “This Punishment” and “A Darkness Coming”, the vocals are ok, pretty much the only thing keeping the track alive, otherwise they should be sorry for attempting.
The sound is powerful and well taken care of, impressive dynamics are logged into every instrument giving them a heavy edge, definitely beats the thin production on “Discouraged Ones”. It’s a shame they don’t have more of their own ideas to present, they play their songs well and have a natural gift for good old gothic catchiness without those fancy electronics getting in the way of the organic message.
A great way to cover your favourite bands without actually replaying their songs, it’s not bad but DARK-N’s style is too saturated for me in the long run. On the other hand, if your “Goth outcast” classmate is unaware of bands like the ones mentioned above, “Loading Complete” is likely to be crowned a saviour, so only for dedicated followers of genre. (Online April 15, 2005)