“One by one the Kingdoms fall…” goes the spoken-word monologue that opens the fourth Darkness album. In comes the riff, a quaking, thrusting monster over which Justin Hawkins screams “AHHHHHH!” and gabbles about the Viking invasion of East Anglia in AD 865 (“Reducing the feeble citadels/To ashes and blood stain”). Then, of course, is a preposterous guitar solo. As openers go, you can’t really argue with ‘Barbarian’. It’s hard to knock stompers like ‘Roaring Waters’ either, but the vanilla title track and the plodding ‘Hammer & Tongs’, come off as cheesy, even for this lot. But the key takeaway from the follow-up to 2012’s ‘Hot Cakes’ is that it sounds like The Darkness are having fun again, even if their posey cock-rock sounds more than a little stale.
- Record label: Kobalt Label Services