DARKOLOGY — Altered Reflections

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DARKOLOGY - Altered Reflections cover
4.48 | 15 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2009


1. Microcozm (0:26)
2. Violent Vertigo (5:54)
3. I Bleed (6:05)
4. Dark Energy (7:04)
5. Nobot (5:07)
6. Eyes of Argus (5:49)
7. Aura of Xhad (6:03)
8. Alone (5:07)
9. Revitalize (4:00)
10. Trance of the Gorgons (9:12)

Total time 54:47


- Kelly "Sundown" Carpenter / Vocals
- Michael Harris / Guitar, Guitar Synth, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
- Mike Neal / Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Brian Harris / Drums

Release Staff:

- Sterling Winfield / Mixing
- Gary Long / Mastering
- Darkology / Production, Mixing

About this release

Released by Rock-a-holics Records, November 16th, 2009.

Altered Reflections is the first album to be released by Rock-a-holics Records; catalog number RR CDDG 001.

Bonus content:

I Bleed Music Video

Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
This is the album that Judas Priest wanted to make after “Painkiller” but never quite managed to do so. The debut album by DARKOLOGY definitely takes a few cues from the pages of the Priest playbook but they go above and beyond the call of duty to make a album much more the sum of the many influences that I can detect and for sure a few more that I cannot. This band comes from Dallas, TX and is the creation of brothers Michael (guitar, keyboards) and Brian Harris (drums). They recruited Mike Neal on bass and the vocal shredder Kelly “Sundown” Carpenter who nails the old school operatic metal technique like nobody's business. In fact he sounds like a biological amalgamation of Rob Halford, his successor The Ripper and a soul singer like James Brown all rolled into one super-singin' extravaganza.

The album is a bonafide journey through the metal universe incorporating a gazillion influences in its wake and guaranteed to dig its ear worm hooks into your metal psyche and reel you in like a helpless little fishy snatched from a frigid cold Alaskan lake. If you want to know what's good about this album the you can safely check “all of the above.” The musicianship? Outstanding! The compositions? Fantabulous!! The production? Stupendous!!! This album is simply fine tuned to the point where no stone was left unturned in finding an entertainment value that keeps the listener engaged from beginning to end.

True it is that the influences can be a little strong. There is the obvious Judas Priest extenuation that seems like the “Jugulator” album in another dimension where it evolved differently only to burrow into our time and place in 2009, but there are also Iron Maiden gallops, Bumblefoot guitar solos, thrashy riffs and power metal over-the-top developments but everything seems to balance out in the end and despite the knowledge of these obvious influences I still find this a compelling listen that beckons me for returned listens often. And not only do I want to put this album on but I want to play it in its entirety. That rarely happens these days as I listen to so very much music but occasionally an album finds the tenacity to burrow deep into my inner playlist and have staying power. And so it is with this one. Great band, great sound and you should check them out NOW!
Altered Reflections is the debut album from Darkology, a progressive metal act featuring some established names from the progressive metal scene, such as band mastermind Michael Harris (Arch Rival, Thought Chamber et all) and features the vocals of Kelly ‘Sundown’ Carpenter, previously heard singing with Beyond Twilight and Outworld. Brian Harris (brother of Michael) and Mike Neal completely the line-up.

After a short intro track (I make no secret of hating intro tracks and to be honest this is no exception, but for this album I’ll make an exception and let that pass based on just how strong the actual songs are, it is pointless, yes, but this album has the strengths to allow that to slide), Violent Vertigo bursts out of the speakers with an insanely awesome riff, which sets the standard for the rest of the album. While many progressive bands (rock or metal) employ the use of keyboards, Darkology’s music is all about the heaviness of the guitars and the complexity of the riffs. It's definitely progressive metal, but it could easily also be considered technical metal even though that's not a tag I'd encourage use of. Sundown’s vocals fit into the mix really well, giving them that sort of epic sound associated with power metal, so it would be fair to brand them as progressive power metal but it’s my personally opinion that the vocals is as far as the power metal part of Darkology goes, the music is prog all over.

I would normally separate a few highlights from an album to talk about right about now, but that is very difficult to do with Darkology’s Altered Reflections, simply because, intro track aside, this album does not have a single flaw within its nine songs. Every track is as addictive as the last and each has its own identity, which considering that the band do not fall into the type of progressive metal that hops between different genres (like Ayreon, for example); always applying the same winning formula to the writing, just goes to show how well they’ve put this album together. Best I can do is to list my favourites, and these even took several listens to finally settle upon - Dark Energy, Eyes of Argus, Aura of Xhad and Revitalize.

This is going to be an album that I will continue to listen to for a long time. Some albums can be heard, played a few times and then forgotten for a long time until you suddenly get the urge to hear it again, and then that cycle will begin again. This definitely isn't one of those in my opinion. I hope these guys stick around, because as great as Altered Reflections is it is so tantalisingly good that I need more from them, but at the same time this is a band that have set their own standard so high with their debut album I'm really not sure how they'll ever be able to top this.

(Review originally written for Heavy Metal Haven)

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