When Darkness Falls: Bloodstone (2011)

Bio (from http://www.mysteriarecordsusa.com/fr_whendarknessfalls.cfm):
Acoma Pueblo is home to the oldest continuously inhabited village in the US. Now it gives something to carry the warrior spirit of the Native peoples to the world, When Darkness Falls.  Theses Native sons were drawn together in October 2004 and first went by the name Tormented Soul. They drew upon musical inspiration by playing covers from some of their favorite bands like; Metallica, Pantera (RIP Brother Dime), OZZY, Rob Zombie, Killswitch Engage, and others from this genre.  Patrick “Bucky” Vallo- drums, Rollin Valdo-guitar, and Larson “Dutch” Valdo were drawn together and were the catalyst that would spawn When Darkness Falls. They were soon joined by Brandon “Turtle” Valdo- vocals, Lawrence “Jay” Garcia- Bass, and Zachary Garcia- additional vocals.  The Spirit flowed through them and inspired them to begin writing their own original material. They drew upon life experiences and their Native culture and have written over 20 original songs. They have played many local shows. One of their most memorable was a benefit show in December 2005 for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in front of 1,100 people.  When Darkness Falls continued to grow and develop as a band and develop their own unique style and proving that Native Americans can rock.

Musicians:
Larson “Dutch” Valdo – Guitars, Rollin “Ro” Valdo – Guitars, Lawrence “Jay” Garcia –Bass, Zachary Garcia – Vocals, Brandon “Turtle” Valdo – Lead Vocals, Patrick “Bucky” Vallo – Drums

These guys Rock.  Notice the capital “R,” that’s there on purpose.  For me, When Darkness Falls inhabits the musical area somewhere between Pantera and Deftones, but closer to the Pantera side; the have a bit of the groove that Deftones uses, but are squarely in the thrash arena with Pantera.  Listening to BLOODSTONE takes me back to 1994, and Pantera’s track “Cemetery Gates” from the DEMON KNIGHT soundtrack.  Prior to then, there wasn’t a lot of “metal” that I liked, but that soundtrack got me.  I liked Melvins and Rollins Band and Filter, so I picked up the CD.  For the first time, I really got into the heavier stuff on that disc; I had heard Pantera and Megadeth and Sepultura before, but they had never really done anything for me.  For whatever reason, “Cemetery Gates” caught my attention, and my musical tastes started going towards the heavier end of the rock spectrum.

I still like metal, but in general I’m not too much into screamed/growled lyrics.  I don’t mind them, in fact some of my favorite bands use screaming as a form of vocal delivery – such as Snot and Deftones – but the thing that makes me like the bands that I like that utilize this form of vocals is the fact that they are ALL screamed/growled lyrics.  They temper the screaming with singing, and it is this balance that appeals to me.  When Darkness Falls, with their two singers – something not often seen in metal bands, or rock bands in general – temper the screaming and the growling with singing, and this lets me get into the music even though it’s a bit heavier than what I usually listen to.  For my personal tastes, I think I would like BLOODSTONE more if the ratio of screamed vs. sung was a bit higher on the sung side, but there is still enough singing to not turn me off from their sound.

Musically, When Darkness Falls is amazing.  The guitars are fast and heavy, and while there is enough soloing to display Dutch and Ro’s talent, there aren’t the opulent, over-the-top finger-hammered solos of the late eighties.  Jay’s bass does its job – driving the rhythm – and occasionally even speaks up from the rhythm section and shows off.  While all of When Darkness falls impressed me, the piece that I was blown away by was Bucky’s drums.  Heavy as hell, Bucky’s drumming makes my arms and legs exhausted just listening to it.  He can play his dual-kick drums like snares, and it amazes me that he can last through more then a couple of songs live with the very obvious physical workout his drumming entails.

BLOODSTONE is a metal album that proves that Native guys can rock out with the best of them.  I’ve known a lot of Native guys that are into rock, but I’ve never heard of any that can kick out the rock like this.  Truthfully, there’s not really any need to put in that they are Native; you don’t need to say “When Darkness Falls rocks as hard as any Native band,” because When Darkness Falls rocks as hard as ANY band.  No adverb needed.

Overall, I really enjoyed BLOODSTONE.  While it is a bit heavier than I generally prefer, the balance between screamed and sung was enough to catch my attention, the outstanding musicianship was enough to keep my attention, and the pure metal mayhem was enough to win me over.  Color me impressed.

Overall 8 / 10

BLOODSTONE for sale: http://www.mysteriarecordsusa.com/onlinestore.cfm

WHEN DARKNESS FALLS Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WDFonline 

WHEN DARKNESS FALLS Site: http://www.darknesscrewonline.com/

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2 thoughts on “When Darkness Falls: Bloodstone (2011)

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