Darker Half discusses third album release – Never Surrender and their current US Tour.
By Mandy Craig.
Sydney’s metal band Darker Half has unleashed their third album Never Surrender, and they are now over in the US, touring around to different venues showing their international fans how Aussie metallers get a crowd revved up.
Their main inspirations being Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, you can hear the 80’s metal influence in Never Surrender, from the riffs and solos – to the soaring of the vocals; reminiscent of worshipped vocalists like Bruce Dickinson.
Darker Half’s sound mixes elements of power, melodic and thrash metal, and in Never Surrender the band really show off their wicked talents, making this album a creation of music that has the power of immortality.
Talking to vocalist Vo Simpson and guitarist Brad Dickson, they reveal all you need to know about their international tour, Never Surrender, and what they have planned for their Aussie fans, once home from America.
Darker Half have achieved a lot in the first few months of this year, releasing their third album, beginning their tour in America; and now the band can’t wait for everyone to hear their new music.
“To be over here, livin’ the dream so to speak is among the most exciting things we’ve ever done as a band.” Brad explains.
“We’re pretty stoked to say the least,” adds Vo, “it’s been a lot of work getting the album finished and out, but we’re really proud of how it’s come together and can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working on! It’s a mission for Aussie bands to get to the US with the distance and cost, so it’s awesome to see the warm welcome we’ve been getting.”
The band’s first gig back on the 6th was in Pennsylvania, at a venue called the Factory Underground with bands, Beyond Fallen and Praise the Sinner.
“The show itself was great and we were really happy with the reaction we got!” Vo reveals, “both of the other bands were killer and the crowd was really into it, so you can’t ask for much more really.”
Talking about their recent gig in New York with UK band Grim Reaper, Vo expressed how much he, and the rest of Darker Half were looking forward to performing alongside the UK band.
“Grim Reaper from the UK are one of my favourite bands, so really happy to have gotten onto that one! We toured with Steve Grimmett back in Australia, so it was a stroke of luck that they happened to be here at the same time and were willing to help us out; we’ll also be doing our own NY show a few weeks later.”
On the US tour, Darker Half’s shows will be mostly around East Coast and Midwest areas. With many places listed, and other extra shows popping up, being invited to play at other venues as well, the band is becoming fairly popular with their American fans.
“We’re gonna be doing Atlanta, Buffalo, Frederick MD, Portland ME, Springfield VA, Fort Wayne IN and of course the Warriors of Metal festival in Columbus, Ohio, which is what we were initially invited over for.” Vo reveals, “we’ll be heading west after the fest, doing a couple of weeks in LA before heading back to Australia. There’s a few other places we may be playing, as we keep getting new offers now that we’re here, and need to work out where we’re able to get to without killing ourselves driving.”
Vo also talks about the set list, and what the band has in store for the people who come to their shows, saying directly to the US fans, “We’ve got a killer set that has tracks from both previous releases as well as Never Surrender. We’re gonna be firing on all cylinders to make sure that you Americans get a proper taste of Australian style heavy metal!”
The new album, Never Surrender is described as having many themes weaved through the lyrics and music, giving listeners the chance to define their own meanings to each track. Talking about the album’s lyrical and musical approach, Vo gives ideas of what to listen out for in the songs, saying each track is open for different interpretations:
“The title track is straight up heavy metal; never give up and stick to your guns idea, pretty metal really. There’s a split personality vibe going on in a few of the tracks too that I like to write about. I think everyone’s got more to them than it seems, and the way we look at each other (or ourselves) doesn’t always match up with the reality. I find that sort of thing really fascinating, probably the most common theme on this album,” Vo explains, “there’s a track dealing with the idea of an ever-branching multi-verse, almost a butterfly effect. Every decision made branching off into a new separate reality that we’re constantly flipping between without realising, leading to stuff like déjà vu. Then there’s a couple of straight up heavy metal tracks, full-bore, in your face heavy metal! I’m not particularly into the whole brutal lyrics thing so try to keep it interesting.”
Vo and Brad also discussed how they felt Never Surrender differed from their previous releases, saying it is their best produced album yet.
“The production of Never Surrender has had a more professional approach than previous releases, with more attention to the overall vibe of the mixes – making it our crispest, punchiest release yet.” Brad explains.
“Overall, I think we’re just doing what we do better,” Vo adds, “it takes time to really find and develop a unique sound and while I’m really proud of both our previous albums, I think on this album, we’ve managed to make something that can stand up to anything out there!”
Revealing his favourite tracks from the album Vo says why they, along with the others, are epic songs individually.
“The opening track Nemesis I’m really happy with. We’re usually trying to toe the line between power and thrash metal, and I feel that this track has one foot firmly planted in each,” Vo explains, “the title track ‘Never Surrender’ I’m also really happy with, as I’ve always found it hard to write anything shorter than five minutes and feel like we’ve managed to pack a lot of music into a four minute song and make it work. Honestly though, I like them all a lot in their own way, if I wasn’t happy with them, they wouldn’t get recorded. I’ve discarded plenty of ideas at this stage, so it’s got to be right.”
Once Darker Half are back home, the band plan to continue touring, launching their new album to their Aussie fans.
“The Australian launch tour for Never Surrender is due to begin the very week we land back in Australia,” explains Brad, “so a month or two of playing shows in the capital cities/regional centres, promoting the new album.”
“The first show is like two days after we get home, so we’re not wasting any time.” Vo adds.
Copyright © Music Mayhem with Mandy 2014
EXCLUSIVE MESSAGE TO DARKER HALF FANS
“We feel privileged to have the opportunity to play our music for so many people in so many places. We love what we do, and the fact that more and more people can continue to share that with us is awesome! So please check out our new album, throw the horns and bang your head” \m/
Want more Darker Half? Check them out via the following links:
Listen to Darker Half’s song Nemesis, from their new album Never Surrender!