It’s always nice to find a quality band you’ve never heard before. I ran into The Dark Third on rateyourmusic.com (also posted this review on there) and checked them out without any particular expectations. What I found was something both musically ambitious and emotionally touching. Let’s dive right into the music!
The Dark Third’s musical style
The Dark Third mix a bunch of different genres, everything from progressive rock to alternative rock and shoegaze. The most prominent influences are probably Anathema and Porcupine Tree. Lighter contemporaries also sneak into the sound. The vocal lines in the end of the first song almost have a slight indie vibe. It all comes together well as a whole though.
The Dark Third are generally too light to fit under the metal umbrella, despite that there are some blastbeats on the album. The extreme parts tend to be of the more “gazy” variety.
Proud influences, different songwriting
There is a lot of emotionally loaded keyboard work on the album. It’s the aspect where they remind me most of Anathema, especially their last few albums. Wearing the influences proudly and creating a slightly different thing places The Dark Third among quality contemporaries like Aoria, In the Silence and Soen.
The songwriting style is, however, much more free, compared to the previously mentioned bands. The songs on the album are long, dynamic and highly ambitious. I tend to lose track of which song I am at, but it’s because “Even As the Light Grows” is better enjoyed as a full album.
I’m usually not a fan of drawn out songs. However, The Dark Third manages to crown their musical ambition with more than enough feeling, atmosphere and memorability.
The single “Erewhon” (below) is a good representation of what the band is about. It’s filled with atmospheric guitar lines, dynamic moments and plenty of genuine emotion. The soft section in the middle (“saw the skyline..”) is extraordinary.
Ambition without forgetting the emotion
The twists and turns makes The Dark Third unpredictable, but the emotional depth and quality vocal lines is what really draws me in. Every song has at least a few imminent, honest and memorable vocal moments that gets stuck immediately.
It’s the type of songwriting that builds big bands in these genres, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this band go big quite soon. This really feels like the starting blocks; the band has potential for big things.
The additional instrumentation is also worth mentioning. There are violins, saxophones and other extra instruments present and they all fit in and add to the depth of the music. I’m very impressed by how The Dark Third managed to be so ambitious without losing track of song structure and emotional impact.
“Even as the Light Grows” doesn’t feel like a first album at all, which is highly promising. If they improve on what they have here they’ve really got something going. This is totally worth checking out for fans of Anathema, Porcupine Tree and other similar bands.