Worship Metal’s Album of the Week comes from the unlikeliest of sources!
We all knew The Darkness were back but in truth did anybody really care? The glory days of Permission To Land were long gone and 2012’s Hot Cakes was less hot cakes and more collapsed flan in a cupboard so news of a new album in 2015 could, in all fairness, be met with a luke-warm response. Prepare yourselves for a shock then because Last Of Our Kind is a right bobby dazzler! Easily the finest material the Lowestoft boys have penned since their thrilling arrival 12 years ago when epic anthems, wry British humour and leopard-print leotards shook up a moribund UK Rock scene and gave us stadium-sized heroes to root for once again. Well, the time has come to root for The Darkness one more time because Last Of Our Kind could well be the Hard Rock release of 2015, something we really didn’t expect to be saying at the beginning of the year!
“Open Fire” is The Cult fed through The Darkness’ own Queen inspired Glam Rock-O-Meter with Justin Hawkins putting in an all-conquering Hard Rock vocal performance – and surprisingly sounding Justin Hawkins-lite, his trademark vocal histrionics reigned in for an altogether more rewarding and consistent experience – resulting in the finest Darkness track for many a year. “Barbarian“, on the other hand, is exactly what you’d expect from the band that unleashed “Black Shuck”, the dog that didn’t give a f*ck, on the world. Completely insane and absolutely diabolically delicious if you don’t lap up every last morsel of “Barbarian”‘s Viking themed nonsense you’re probably a grumpy old grumble-bum who tuts and shakes their head dismissively through the majority of modern Rock’s new releases.
Refreshingly, The Darkness’ great knack for joyous and melodious Soft-Rock sing-alongs and Power-Ballads are also back in abundance. The bouncy “Hammer And Tongs” recalling the heady days of “Friday Night” and the Celtic-Folk warmth of “Sarah O’ Sarah” is a brave move amidst the pomp of their heavier material while “Conquerors” rivals “Love Is Only A Feeling” and “Holding My Own” for soulful grandiosity. Rock legends Queen are obviously still the standard-bearer – Roger Taylor’s son is even The Darkness’ new drummer(!) – but the Hawkins brothers and handle-bar moustached bassist Frankie Poullain have reclaimed the right to call themselves Kings of UK Rock, a title that alluded them for far too long.
Allow yourself to be swept along by the sheer boundless enthusiasm and expertly crafted songs of Last Of Our Kind and we guarantee you’ll be playing this beast all year along; good to have you (properly) back lads! 8/10