Wood Lane – CD // DD
Self Released: March 30, 2017
Reviewed by Santiago “Chags” Gutierrez
Dark Matter is “heavily influenced by 70s downer rock and obscure prog.” That’s the description on their Bandcamp page. Apt summary for sure, but there is much more going on here than just 70s prog. Once you scratch that surface, you will find their sound also borrows from the doom, space, and psych/acid genres as well. Think Black Sabbath and Hawkwind to go along with that 70s downer rock tag, and you’re in the ballpark as far as pinning down their sound.
Wood Lane is Dark Matter’s second effort. Whereas their debut was completely recorded by Dave Gilbert, he has enlisted the services of Gandalf’s Fist’s drummer, Stefan Hepe on this one. The addition of Hepe has only served to enhance the overall sound and atmosphere Dave is attempting to create with his compositions. Thematically, this album runs the gamut of religion (‘The Truth is Out There’ and ‘March Out to the Sun’), technology (‘Four Walled World’), Witches (‘Down in the Valley’), and loss (“Wood Lane”). Unquestionably, a diverse lyrical tapestry is woven throughout.
‘King of Colours’ and ‘The Truth is Out There’ open the album with a space rock/acid feel. ‘Four Walled World’ touches upon the dangers of letting technology take over your life. This is the third track on the album and the first where you truly start to see that early Black Sabbath influence—especially towards the tail end of the song. “Wood Lane” is well placed midway through the record and serves the purpose of giving the album a welcomed change of pace with its laid back psychedelic sounds. Lyrically, this song will make you contemplate life as you know it with its deep and emotional theme. As the song suggests, “it’s a lonely place.” The Sabbath influence makes a more obvious return on ‘Down in the Valley’, and the final track, ‘March Out to the Sun,’ boasts a riff that would be more than comfortable fitting in on any doom record.
This is a strong second effort from Dark Matter. The album is cohesive and dynamic and the songs are structured in a way that make them memorable. Gilbert’s vocals fit the overall mood of the record, however, a more varied vocal delivery may have made some of these songs that much more memorable. Minor gripe when considering how well this album embraces the feel of classic 70s proto doom and space rock. Looking forward to what they come up with next.