Dark Sky – Initium


Initium_Dark SkyConcept albums can be either hit or miss in terms of whether or not they provide the experience the artist was hoping for. Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare, and Queensryche’s Operation:Mindcrime are examples of concept albums that certainly do live up to expectations as they take the listener on a journey through a fictional story. Dark Sky has chosen to tell the story of Jesus from the crucifixion through resurrection on their fifth album, Initium.

Dark Sky started out as a band whose members were still in school back in the early 1980’s in the German town of Rottweil, with their first demo tapes being recorded in 1985. Following member changes and difficulties with a label that went bankrupt, Dark Sky finally released the album Believe It in 1998 through Malaysian record label Life Records. Not until 2000 was Believe It released in Europe through the German label Goodlife Records. Later albums were released by Goodlife in 2002 (Edge of Time) and in 2005 AOR Heaven Records released Living and Dying. In 2012, Dark Sky signed with Pure Legend Records/Pure Steel Records and recorded Initium which was produced by Markus Teske (Saga, Vanden Plas, Mob Rules).

True to most concept albums, Initium starts out with the title track, an instrumental piece designed to establish the tone and setting for the album/story. In this case there is some piano accompanied by a string orchestra and finally some choir-like singing over the top, complemented by some church organ. The power metal starts immediately after the intro ends with “The Vision”. Immediately, the listener can make some comparisons in sound to the Scorpions, partly due to the German language influenced vocals and partly with some of the general feel of the music. Dark Sky does not have the heavier tone and feel of bands like the Scorpions though and their sound often strays closer to hair metal than European power metal. Power metal bands are typically known by the strength of the vocals and lead guitar work and these are areas where Dark Sky simply do not compare well to their peers, I feel largely as their music simply does not carry the power as other bands in the genre (Obsession, Golden Resurrection, Inner Seige, Death Dealer etal.).

Some of the stronger tracks on the album are near the end, “You’re Alive”, “The Rock”, and “Shout it Out”. “The Rock” starts out with a good heavy sounding guitar riff that carries through the song, but at times is nearly drowned out by the keyboards and this certainly takes away from the heaviness. That is likely some of my issue with this album in that I feel there is an overreliance on the keyboards and soaring choruses and that takes away from the heaviness that should accompany a story such as the one being told in this concept album. Everything seems too bright and airy. There is a light feeling to the album that takes away from the impact necessary given the subject matter, which is important in this case as it is a concept album where all songs should fit together. I really like the opening guitar in “Shout it Out” as it’s a great riff, and free of keyboards. First one guitar and then a second one joins in and in the case of this song, the guitars tend to stay at a higher level than the keyboards and really carry the song with the keyboards providing a nice counterpoint to the main riff during the verses. If you just listen to short snippets of the songs, most of them start out with a much different tone and feel than the majority of the song. I found myself initially very hopeful about the songs but as the song continued I found myself continually disappointed in the outcome. From a stylistic standpoint, much of this album sounds as if it could be from the hair metal era Stryper and other bands that once filled stadiums and as a result, the overall sound seems a bit dated.

Rating: 6/10

01. Initium 01:28
02. The Vision 05:31
03. Food For A Million 05:00
04. Judas 1-Dancing With The Devil 05:29
05. Last Supper 04:11
06. Gethsemane 01:12
07. I Swear 06:18
08. Lost In Confusion 05:06
09. Judas 2-Take My Life 04:09
10. You’re Alive 03:59
11. The Rock 04:32
12. Shout It Out 03:44
13. Eternity 05:07

Band members:
Frank Breuninger – Vocals
Steffen Doll – Guitars
Winny Zurek – Bass
Claudio Nobile – Keyboards
Uwe Mayer – Drums

Living in Eternity, Demo [1986]
Believe It [2000]
Edge of Time [2002]
In My Mind, Single [2002]
Living & Dying [2005]
Empty Faces [2008]
Initium [2012]

Record Label: Pure Legend Records, Oct. 2012

Weblinks: Website (In German)/ Myspace

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm

Video for “Last Supper”

One Reply to “Dark Sky – Initium”

  1. This review doesn’t do the album justice! If there’s one thing I can say about this album it’s that it is really STRONG! Not just strong musicianship, but also strong songwriting! Something that a lot of bands lack these days. This band is so excellent that it can easily be placed among big names like Dokken, Bonfire and MSG. Don’t say the sound isn’t heavy enough for the subject matter, this is just the style of the band! I’d rate this album a big 9 out of 10!

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