Darkwater make such a strong impression with “A New Beginning” off their much-anticipated third album for Ulterium Records. There is a hint of unease woven into the piano melody, carried forward into the synthesizer lead that plays over distorted guitars and an urgent rhythm. I agree with Mike Portnoy’s assessment that progressive metal can at times be so self-indulgent that it’s more fun for the band than the audience. I think Darkwater strikes a fine balance between being technical, and being emotional with the music.
Rather than reaching backward to prog rock past, the tone is modern and there is a considered restraint in the way songs are performed. In “In Front Of You” Henrik Båth’s voice shines through, as well as how the guitars and synths share lead melodies. There is a moment where bass and drums share the spotlight, but not indulge in it, and further proof that the shared perspective is that the sum total is greater than the individual players.
What is it to be alive in 2019? One in 7.7 billion, or one of 7.7 billion? The crowning glory of Creation, or a mist that appears only briefly? Not only do the lyrics take a “bigger picture” view of life, but like in “Reflection Of A Mind”, the qualities of the soul are also examined. Life is a struggle for who we are: the lone voice that rises above the chorus.