Dark Places – Digital Download
Self Released – released November 28, 2018
Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr
Medavon DeRaj’e – Vocals, lead/rhythm guitars, programming, drums and production
Michael X. Christian – Composition, rhythm/melody/acoustic guitars, bass, synths and keyboards
Having previously heard both of these guys, in their individual projects, Medavon, the purveyor of ‘hellrock’ that he puts forth with Lockjaw and Murder Love God, and Michael’s is as a solo artist, the bassist for Pound of Flesh, vocalist for Misery Machine and lists ‘Instrumentalist’ with The Insect Pins, each unique in approach, tone and content. I decided it best to go into this record trying not to let my familiarity with their previous output taint my palette for this 6-track long voyage into a collaboration not witnessed before. In their own words to describe this project, quote “There are happy places and there are dark places. This album takes a journey into the dark recesses of the mind, while trying to maintain the proper amount of optimism to see the sun again. “ enquote. And then I pushed play…
Slow fade in as “The Art Of Letting Go” sets the tone, dark and menacing with a slower tempo, nuance intact, Medavon gives from his core with his sig vocal delivery that seems touched in a clarity in the mix that adds to the final product. “Dark Places” enters with a softness that is like a wet razor-blade in it’s inherent sweetness that belies each forward as ‘It’s getting cold…’ I could almost feel the temperature drop with the words. Less than 9 minutes in and I am rapt in, no need to go anywhere but here!!
“Conflict” starts off with an almost ‘clean’ guitar, slight reverb for presence but with the slightly quickened tempo from the last two, it adds a feel that seems to give an ‘upbeat’ feel with lyrics as sardonic as any put forth previously from either… “The conflict’s on, dismember”. The corner of my mouth curled in delight.
“Bleeding Out” is something lush and languid in essence and is still dripping in ‘dark sun and rain’, just another day…’ and shows a depth of musicianship in the arrangement and delivery from each to almost, dare I say it, make this release even more ‘accessible’ than any previous from either, this speaking to the average fan as well as the hardcore’s and long-time fans of. The implication being snapped-up the moment it, this record, is experienced.
“Pale” enters as it should, a seeming later-evening tale of confrontation without confronting, just stating the brutal truth, asking for the same with each query, knowing the shadows hide nothing. Pure Medavon tale-weaving and is followed perfectly by “Exhaustion”, which as the fastest cadenced composition with transitions that flow in precisely sliced sections and that keep you rapt, the volume having reached max.
The mix is top-notch, the arrangements are captivating and the aforementioned musicianship shown by these individuals, in a project said to have started back in 2014 all leads to the same conclusion… perfect timing in a year that is already lacking much ‘substance’, this is one you HAVE to sink your teeth into, savoring each drop that runs down your chin. Each track stands on it’s own and together, this is not a snack but a meal to share. Get it out to all in your fold and support them in any project you are given the chance to witness… keep it LOUD!!
Notes & Links:
Lyrics by Medavon DeRaj’e (c)2018 MurderLoveGodMusic/BMIMusic Music by Michael X. Christian (c)2018 AlmostChristianMusic. A Dark Drug Records Production.
https://www.facebook.com/InOrgAnicMusic/videos/239422013385294/ (Medavon recording vocals)