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   CAGE
Darker Than Black
2003
Fugitive Records
http://www.cageheavymetal.com


rating: 5/5

1. Darker Than Black
2. Kill The Devil
3. Chupacabra
4. Blood Of The Innocent
5. Eyes Of Obsidian
6. Philadelphia Experiment
7. March Of The Cage
8. White Magic
9. Door To The Unknown
10. Secrets Of Fatima
11. Wings Of Destruction
12. Antimatter (US Bonus)
13. Forces Of Freedom
47. Chupacabra (Spanish Version -         hidden track)

One of the most ultimate metal albums of the past year is without doubt Cage's 3rd record "Darker Than Black". I followed this band from the day they were featured on one of the Rock Hard's Unerhört CDs back in 1999. They won a gig at the 1999 Dynamo Open Air festival and showed us what US metal should sound like. Although already impressed with their first CD, their next effort "Astrology" was a big step up and the new one is again a big step up: more well-thought, more mature, better songwriting and a great production. On one hand it's typical US metal, Priestish style, still with a touch of old Savatage (though not as much as on the debut). On the other hand there are soooo many killer riffs, great ideas and interesting parts in all the different layers of the songs, that they've created a style of their own. Big part has always been Sean Peck's distinguished high pitched vocals, that on this record sound more aggressive than ever and he even throws in some screaming or hoarse black/deathish vocals that remind me of Dawn Crosby (RIP - Détente), rooooaaaaaawk!

The CD I have here is the US pressing (Fugitive Records), in Europe it's been released by Massacre Records. There seems to be a slight difference in the tracklisting, "Antimatter" is a US bonustrack and the hidden Spanish version of "Chupacabra" is a regular bonustrack (errr...) on the European version. After a narrated, dark intro the music starts in a pretty epic way with the beginning of "Kill The Devil" - then to Cage's typical type of pounding metal! "Chupacabra" is one of my favorite songs on the album with some excellent guitarwork and here and there some evil vocals by Sean. Here you have a singer that has all the techniques down but didn't forget how to put power and passion in, and is not too afraid to do whatever the songs require - it does so much for the music! "Blood Of The Innocent" handles about how the Indians were betrayed and starts off with some flute and tribal drums. With "March Of The Cage" they now have their own hymne, should be a good one live! The next two songs are again favorites of mine: "Secret Of Fatima" stands out because of very subtile oriental touches, some shreeking vocals in between and a slower ending, which flawlessly fits to the acoustic start of "Wings Of Destruction" - no worries, it turns into a fast motherfucker very soon, with a more epic chorus to catch your breath ;) BTW, that's one of the songs where guest-guitarist Roy Z. (Bruce, Halford) plays some leads. US bonus track "Antimatter" has a bit more modern feel. Some mean hooks, more lower vocals, yet still very Cage. "Forces To Freedom", a patriotic track referring to the September 11th-tragedy gallops towards the end of the CD...... or so it seems. After a bunch of empty 6-second-tracks we get a hidden track at # 47: the Spanish version of "Chupacabra"! And how amazingly well does the Spanish language compliment this song! A very nice dessert, guys! Muy bieno!

With material of this quality it's about time these guys get some more recognition. Check these guys out at one of the 2004 summer festivals in Europe!!

submitted by Marlies 28.12.2003

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