You know what I accused Train of? That they went for some rosy, politically correct bullshit. A sugar-sweet regurgitation of whatever American feel-good spin doctors advertise.
Gone are the days of carefree bouncing about the stage, and having a rebellious and jolly good time. If it is because of advancing age or because of the thought police would be the subject of a completely different post.
Now, I detect something of the exact same ilk with The Rasmus. Even if similarity does not mean that they committed the same capital sin. The band’s affinity towards disco style sounds exists already for a long time, so this is not the bone of contention. Even if sometimes desperation reigned, and the RMR deck crew felt like hanging one of those terrible glitter balls from the ceiling. It was that bad. But – in the end – we always forgave the band for this specific crime.
Because almost all albums sported a mid-point surprise. Suddenly, out of some dark clouds rained an almost metal downpour of astoundingly heavy rock. This provided variation, much needed sweet variation to increase the quality of an album manifold.
Perhaps with the exception of Dead Letters. The one and only record that lets loose straight away. And keeps at it throughout the record, minus one or two fillers. But this one really was at the height of their productive prowess, no doubt about it. And we all hoped they would take off from there to super stardom. Yet – somehow – even this album never quite allowed The Rasmus to leave Scandinavian soil, if you get my drift. Even if some of the following records were pretty good.
Now, after a very long wait, Dark Matters finally released in 2017. And this is after The Rasmus was pronounced dead yet again. Or so it seemed indeed, for a very long wait of 5 years after The Rasmus, the namesake record. Now, the sadly departed are back from paradise and offer us another slice of their prowess.
Only, will the crunch prevail or will this ship sail into sweetly flavored nirvana?
The truth splits down the middle. Dark Matters delivers a somewhat impossible mix between the latter-day Train and the more sophisticated records The Rasmus delivered in the past.
Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?
And in a way it is, just listen to Silver Night or Delirium. This sounds just like the aforementioned Train, with a few darker lyrics attached. And an ominously Scandinavian flavor to it.
The tracks also feature nothing beyond some 3 minutes plus of airtime, neither. So, The Rasmus did succumb to the siren call of the music industry. And their kind of fearmongering says that you cannot have songs that are too long, lest radios won’t play it. There is indeed some truth to that. But hey, if you aim to stick out of the crowd, you should not try to blend in.
Yet, this is what Dark Matters – unfortunately – does in spades. I heard nothing that really shook me awake. With none of the energy of former records really present on any of these tracks. Albeit that Crystalline has got that typical The Rasmus look and feel. And a trifle of the crunch former works displayed, but only a trifle.
Up and down the track list I went on Dark Matters in search of excitements and just that hidden gem within this list of ten.
I continue to miss the unquestionable power of Dark Letters. Or the subdued juice of Black Roses, with both albums really playing the essence of The Rasmus. Not that the album is devoid of acceptable material. Wonderman – for instance – surely sports a hearty beat. But the rest, with few exceptions, pretty much sinks into some toothless Electro Rock that I often find pretty hard to stomach.
To add insult to injury, the mix is so compressed that the sound turns wobbly once you add a little juice on top of it. Which does not necessarily help the absolute listening pleasure.
Dark Matters really turns out to be a straight continuation from their 2012 album. With some reckless disco-readiness slapped onto the tracks for good measure. I hoped that some of their freshness, oomph and corniness would return after so many years. After all, the energy and creativity bottled up for so long should just bubble to the surface. And somehow create a stellar piece of work with a character that no other band can muster.
But none of that came to pass. Instead, we get a bland piece of mainstream. A bit darker than crimes other bands committed, true. But their brand of Pop Rock gets very close to the overall rosiness this metalhead detests.
But then, what can you do? The band stated that they – and I quote – “made music they would like to hear themselves”.
Will this line of thinking enable the band to leave Scandinavia for shores unknown and make a killing? Or will it just cement the status quo? Time and future albums will tell, for sure. Because this one stands neither here nor there.