[11 June 2003]
Best Cock Rock Spandex Wearing Pretenders To Judas Priest’s Throne And I Don’t Think They’re Doing It Ironically Especially Since They’re From Lowestoft
When I was at school, I hated heavy metal. I mean, I didn’t care what it sounded like, I just knew it was only for spods and nerds and all the people in-between (I believe they’re called sperds). Take my friend Nick, for example: bumfluff moustache, obsessed with demons and naked women, a sloppy grin perfectly complementing his unashamedly dumb playground scissor-kicks and an Iron Maiden patch stoopidly ironed onto the back of his sleeveless denim jacket. What a fucking sperd. Unlike me, of course, the kid with impeccable tastes, the child who knew about music, the fella who spent his weekends collecting records by the Wedding Present.
I wasted my youth. Thank you, then, for the Darkness.
Armed with leotards, falsetto vocals and chords that bite with the ferocity of all the great rock poodles, the Darkness are four men who have obviously always known the power of eye-liner and leather, their ball breaking metal giving me a second chance to enjoy all that I had once immaturely deemed too immature for myself back in my po-faced teenage years. Formed in the sleepy Suffolk town of Lowestoft by brothers Justin and Dan Hawkins with pals Frankie Poullain and Ed Graham, the Darkness have been slaughtering the clubs and bars of London for a while now with their patented brand of ‘80s metal riffing and posturing; singer Justin Hawkins’ utter self-belief that he’s a 21st Century Freddie Mercury either delights those who revel in the glorious insanity of rock ‘n’ roll or alienates miserable buggers who wouldn’t know real rock if it fell out of the sky dressed like David Lee Roth and star-jumped on their heads.
Of course, the Darkness’s rock theatrics would be a pointless exercise in tongue-in-cheek nostalgia if they didn’t have the songs to match the image. Their high octane debut E.P. I Believe in a Thing Called Love alerted a few to their off-kilter histrionics in August last year, but it was February’s follow-up single Gets Your Hands Off My Woman,—a bombastic tale of chivalry that repeats the word “motherfucker” an ungodly amount of times—that has cemented the Darkness’s reputation as the greatest guitar gods this side of AC/DC. With their as yet untitled debut album not set for release until July, the band have been further converting fans to the cause during a tour of British stadiums with, fittingly enough, Def Leppard. It would be a stretch to describe the Darkness as the future of rock, but their avowed intent to revive the flamboyant stadium stylings of their childhood heroes is a refreshing kick against both the detestable meanderings of nu-metal music and their numerous critics who believe that music should be “authentic” and utterly leaden. For those who are about to rock like the forefathers I once lamentably ignored, I salute you.