Heavy Psych • United Kingdom
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Crafting a musical skeleton that has as much in common with British folk as it does with West Coast jam bands, DARK wouldn't be unlike a lot of other psychedelic bands in the late sixties/early seventies. What made them different was one thing: a solid understanding of fuzzy guitar. Rather than merely using the fuzzbox to show off, DARK incorporated it into the build of their songs, laying it across moody, heavy tracks that approached sprawling. It all began in 1968, when guitarist Steve Giles grabbed other guitarist Martin Weaver, drummer Clive Thorneycroft and bassist Ronald Johnson, and formed Dark at a school in Northhampton. Local touring followed for several years, until, in 1972, the band only produced their first album, the not-quite-as-scary-as-you'd-think "Round the Edges" (occasionally featuring Colin Bush on bass. Go figure).

Only about sixty copies were issued, and original albums remain a collector's item to this day (it
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DARK Discography

DARK albums / top albums

DARK Round The Edges album cover 3.43 | 3 ratings
Round The Edges
Heavy Psych 1972
DARK Jam 1975 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jam 1975
Heavy Psych 1990
DARK Anonymous Days album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Anonymous Days
Heavy Psych 1996

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DARK re-issues & compilations

DARK Teenage Angst (The Early Sessions) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Teenage Angst (The Early Sessions)
Heavy Psych 1994
DARK Artefacts From The Black Museum album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Artefacts From The Black Museum
Heavy Psych 1996

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DARK Reviews

DARK Round The Edges

Album · 1972 · Heavy Psych
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An intriguing album to say the least - and Dark Round The Edges is a fairly accurate assessment.

The music has a melancholy almost folksy flavour, with vocals that remind me somewhat of David Sylvian's mournful baritone.

Despite the non-heavy rock feel, the vibe overall in "Darkside" is very much in the original sense of "heavy", and the metal connection is tangible in the dissonant harmonies, many of which avoid conventional diatonic cadential structures.

The music itself is free-flowing and makes a lot of use of riffing that seems a fair distance from standard blues progressions.

Occasionally, a fuzz pedal is kicked in, and a bigger, dirtier sound overtakes.

"Maypole" begins in a much lighter vein - like the lightest side of Wishbone Ash. Around 2:10, the heavier sound is re-introduced over a shuffling, almost reggae-fied drum beat, and things get a bit more exploratory from here - mostly around a simple descending chord pattern, but with moments of craft, guile and heaviness - but it's not too long before the uber-lite song returns.

"Live For Today" opens with an acoustic passage, rather like that famous one stolen by Metallica from Bleak House's "Rainbow Warrior". Again, Ash-lite is the order of the day in the song until the intro, continuing in the formula - there are some fabulous psychedelic touches here, but notalot of metal, and the noodle is notable only in the lack of real invention. Great for stoking a stogie to, but that's not really why we're here!

The crashing chords at the end are worth hanging around for.

"R.C.8." is a welcome return to the heavier sound, and is infused with the unique sound of Dark, passing through a kind of quasi-jazz rock section.

A brief flurry gets us into "The Cat", which is a largely Hendrix-inspired song with the Dark twists. The flurrying psychedelic style bluff is a bit annoying, but the overall effect kinda works. The obligatory long jam section is surprisingly laid back, and has intonation issues, but is more than bearable overall.

Rounding off the album is the heaviest number by far, entitled "Zero Time" - a sample can be heard hear, so no need for me to dig in. It is my favourite song on the album, and gives almost completely the wrong idea - there are many moments that sound like this song, but the album overall is a real mixed bag, so not one for most metal fans.

It's not hard to hear how this album could be massively heavied up and turned into "proper" metal, so if you're out of song ideas, this is a great and, as far as I know, untapped source of unknown material to cover that would "metal up" well.

Collectors only - but I have to say it's a fascinating and enjoyable album, so I'll push it up to Good, but non-essential.

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