In Darkest Dreams – “The Vanishing”


The Vanishing_600x600Based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, former Broken Flesh vocalist Ricky Puckett has compiled ten tracks  of goth-influenced death metal in his solo project debut.  Being responsible for the vocals and all instruments does give one a bit of freedom but also increases the pressure significantly, especially when it comes to sound quality. Overall, the sound quality is very clean, perhaps a bit too clean for the genre, but it does make the vocals more intelligible.

The album opens with some mournful piano and spoken word in a dark, smooth voice as the song winds its way through the dark material of Psalm 88.  Part way through the song, the double bass and guitars come in along with some growling death metal vocals supported by clean vocals and the ever-present piano.  “The Vanishing” opens up with a distinctive goth flair to the vocals and a bit of a doom metal feel given the droning guitar riff and lyrics.

Things start to pick up with the opening for “Bleeding Out” and its cool lumbering gallop riff.  In this case the clean vocals are simply not there, replaced by deep growling death metal vocals.  This is one of the pounding songs on the album.  Between the heavy riff and drums, there is a distinct feeling of being pummeled and this continues on through the next song “Steal Kill Destroy”.  The song itself focuses on the “Churchian” a figure who is literally an enemy in the midst of the church.  The song features a near breakdown section that just lacks power in this mix, which is too bad as it is an interesting twist.

The album takes some odd twists and turns through the ten tracks following “Steal Kill Destroy” with “End Game” feeling much like the previous songs, while “A Midnight Star Falls” has a brighter almost poppy metal feel to it, likely a result of the dominating keyboars. In complete contrast, “Demon Seed” opens up with acoustic guitar but abruptly veers into death/grind with its blast beat-filled sections.

There are a number of cool touches within the songs on the album that keep them from falling into the ordinary.  Some of the percussion within “Cesspool” really adds continuity to a section that could feel more broken up given the rhythm of the drums and guitars.  Songs like “Death is Dead” feature cool riffs and there are more than a few of those on the album.  I will say that I’m not entirely sold on the two cover tracks, a goth-metal version of REM’s “Losing My Religion” and more straightforward cover of Zao’s “Five Year Winter”.  Being a fan of older Zao, I was wondering how this might translate and for the most part is works but the general tone and feel of the song simply lack the power and punch of the original.  In some ways, that cover speaks to the whole album.  Performances are solid and there are some really good moments, but it just feels like there is something missing in the mix.

Rating: 6.5/10

Written by John Jackson

01 Despair
02 Final Refrain
03 The Vanishing
04 Bleeding Out
05 Steal Kill Destroy
06 End Game
07 A Midnight Star Falls
08 Demon Seed
09 Losing My Religion
10 Cesspool
11 No Retreat
12 Five Year Winter
13 Death Is Dead
14 The Dreams of Disillusionment & Pain

Band Members:
Ricky Puckett (vocals and music)

Record Label: Independent, Sept. 2016

Weblinks: Facebook / Reverbnation / Twitter

Video below:  ‘Death Is Dead’

Video below: ‘No Retreat’


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