'My Only Shelter'
Release Date: 22nd November 2013
Life can be full of surprises. I stuck this album on having had a look at the band biography and the only fact that stuck out originally was that Darkhaus contained two members of hardcore band Pro-Pain and called themselves an "international modern synth-rock group", whatever that meant. A side project from a shouty, heavy hardcore guys? The last thing I expected was this little pop-goth gem!
Gary Meskil and Marshall Stephens from Pro-Pain in the US have combined with a Scottish singer, an Austrian electronic music wiz and a German drummer(don't ask me how, I haven't a clue!) to take influences from old goth and punk bands, modern electronic and industrial sounds and combined them with a flair for melodies and hooks to create a great modern sounding rock album with a dark edge.
Imagine the techno influenced metallic drive of Sweden's Pain married with the gothic pop sensibilities of Him at their best and you get some of the idea.
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The album is full of songs with great memorable choruses combined with punchy guitar riffs and driving synth sounds. Kenny Hanlon's vocals are strong and melodic and they even throw some nice vocal harmonies into the mix. Above all though this is an album about songwriting, despite the fact that their are 16 songs on the album there aren't really any bad ones, a real rarity these days!
There is some breadth amongst all these melodic electro goth rock sensibilities, some songs move into Depeche Mode territory with pumping synths mixing with the driving rock guitars ('Life Worth Living'), some are radio-friendly rock anthems ('Son Of A Gun'), there's pure pop-rock ('Looks Like Rain') and a couple of remixes with the synths dominating if that's your thing. There's even a Nickelback/Alter Bridge style epic ballad ('Apostle').
Verdict: This is an album of disparate influences, some of which are far from metallic. Don't let this put you off though, this is a superbly crafted slice of commercial electro influenced rock, great songwriting with melodies and hooks and at its' heart some loud guitars.
Play this when you're driving and I'll guarantee you'll be singing along and pounding the wheel in time with the drums in no time. I hope it surprises other people like it did me!
Kenny Hanlon - Vocals
Rupert Keplinger - Guitar, Synth
Marshall Stephens - Guitar
Gary Meskil - Bass
Paul Keller - Drums