While it was great to see The Darkness reunited for 2012’s Hot Cakes, the album ultimately failed to live up to the high bar the band had set themselves in their heyday. Which makes this stunning return to form all the more welcoming, with the band continuing to sit at the altar of the rock behemoths while throwing in a few surprises and a bottomless pit of enthusiasm for good measure.
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The Viking-themed hard rock riffery of Barbarian is crowned with a chorus of Justin Hawkins’ deliriously demented wailing before the Van Halen-tinged sheen of Open Fire and the title track’s effortlessly catchy hooks and righteous leads deliver pure rock perfection.
The swagger of Mudslide and tender, Celtic-inspired melodies of Sarah O’Sarah add more bravado to the band’s arsenal, while Wheels Of The Machine and the finale of Conquerors are candidates for the power ballad pantheon.
The thunderous riffs, proggy synths and histrionic vocals of Mighty Wings might prove too much for some, but overall you’d have to be a miserable bastard to not be smiling by the end of this. Welcome back, boys./o:p