Darkening was formed in 2004 by guitarist Oscar Pita in Havana City, Cuba. That same year the band released their first EP ‘When The Soul’ and played numerous venues around the island of Cuba. Oscar in 2008 moved to the U.S. and the band was on a hiatus for a period of 7 years before he started to reform the band on American soil. He was able to reform the band with several other Cuban musicians in the bands new hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Over 1,000 miles from where the band originated it was rebuilt. They began to write music and it was somewhat different than the previous material, but it stayed true to the bands brutally heavy roots. The band recently finalized their sophomore release ‘In Exile United’ and it released on December 9, 2016. The album was produced by Artifex Pereo guitarist Jordan Haynes (We Were Giants, Greyhaven, Intent To Kill) at Earlygrayce Studios in Louisville, Kentucky. The band also recently recorded a music video for the track “Time” from the EP. The video was filmed and directed by YoYo Lopez, and is expected to release in March, in the meantime you can see a small clip of the video below.
Darkening open this EP with the track ‘Waiting For A Dawn’, and waiting is something we don’t have to do here. The song is an immediate transport into a realm of brutality. Guitarist Oscar “Thrasher” Pita‘s riffs ring out with pinpoint precision, and the thundering drum beats is like a rapid heartbeat. Halfway through the song we get some classic guitar riffs. The variation of guitar tone throughout the song helps create an appealing contrast. Vocalist Ernesto Rivera has a deep and aggressive growl that fits into the music like a glove. We are introduced to the song “The Heaviest Brick” with a kick ass drum beat followed by a racing guitar riff. The vocals on this track though still heavy have a slightly more clean effect at times. Just that slight changed creates a great variation in the song that helps set the chorus apart from the rest of the song. Musically the song has break neck tempo changes that will take your breath away at times. At times Darkening’s style will remind you of some Swedish thrash, but they blend so well with other influences that they can’t really be pigeonholed to a single genre. “The Heaviest Brick” is the definition of speed and precision. It’s only fitting that the song comes to a screeching abrupt halt, like driving at the speed of sound and suddenly hitting a brick wall. “Wall Of Illusion” showcases a somewhat more raw sound from the band. The song incorporates a massive amount of groove from start to finish. The drums and guitars keep the song at a galloping pace. Enough cannot be said about the vocals and the range in which they are delivered. The slight change in the pitch of Ernesto’s voice adds huge amounts of depth to the song. The riffs evolve into a more progressive style and add another layer to the bands beautiful complexity. As a whole this EP has amazing appeal for fans of varying genres. The amount of differing guitar tones and styles through the EP are something that is unmatched in anything I’ve heard. Darkening’s ability to adapt so many different guitar tones and styles into each track and it still remain cohesive is astonishing. ‘In Exile United’ is just the beginning of what this band is capable of.