'My Only Shelter'
Darkhaus are a truly international band. Featuring members from Scotland, the USA, Germany and Austria whose CVs include the likes of Eisbrecher and Pro-Pain, they have an eye on world-wide exposure and being signed to the respected SPV records, this is an ambition well within their grasps. Their synth rock formula is half based in the darker textures of Depeche Mode, while their rock aspirations are rooted in the romantic-rock blueprint of HIM.
There are flirtations with dance-metal on tracks such as 'Grace Divine', 'Our Time', 'Hour Of Need', and Angelina. While the likes of 'Life Worth Living', 'Ghost', 'Don't Close Your Eyes' and 'Son Of A Gun' focus on a more pop-rock manifesto. Though the overblown ballad 'Apostle' and diet Disturbed groove of 'Hurts Like Hell' break things up a bit, they don't really change the fact this is an album that is either black or white. In fact the most interesting and original tracks to be found are the excellent remixes from Eisbrecher and Kinky J, which play up the somewhat muted electronic elements.
The production is nicely executed, but as demonstrated by the remixes, the electronic side of the bands sound is woefully subdued for the bulk of the main track list. Their rock/metal pedigree is beyond questioning, and the execution of the performances are faultless. However there is very little to set them apart from a myriad of other bands around today.
'My Only Shelter' is a solid album. It's consistent, the song writing is strong, and vocalist Kenny Hanlon displays an impressive range throughout. But even taking all of this into account there is something about Darkhaus that doesn't quite hit the mark. There are a lot of bands with a similar sound around at the moment, and Darkhaus are a good example. Yet with 'My Only Shelter' they don't quite offer anything different to set them apart.