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CD review: DOOMRIDERS, Darkness Come Alive

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By Ben Apatoff

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It may not be fair to compare DOOMRIDERS to guitarist/vocalist NATE NEWTON's better known day job, but Darkness Come Alive delivers on everything a side project should be. Almost none of the songs sound fit for the breakneck pace of CONVERGE's albums, but they're all strong enough to justify a separate band and tour.

Doomriders' uncomplicated, riff-based songs and solos are obviously rooted the classic rock, but they come with a doom metal influence and a sense of when to cut a song off, both of which set them above your average WOLFMOTHER or THE SWORD. Darkness Come Alive is an atmosphere, an album in the classic sense, with the songs and a few short interludes fading into each other.

It's most effective when it's fast ("Bear Witness" vs. "Jealous God") and the lyrics are incomprehensible (see "The Equalizer" vs. "Lions,") and best when drummer JR CONNERS (ex CAVE-IN) gets particularly restless. The spontaneous, tossed-off feel of all 17 tracks almost masks Doomriders' ability to switch progressions midsong and still sound like MOTORHEAD in The Desert Sessions, like on the harrowing title track. Tech metal freaks and hipsters alike will pretend to hate it, but they'll be missing out on the year's best argument for letting the bassist be a part of the creative process.

Rating: 3 Perfect Circles out of 5

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