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Night Birds, The -The Other Side of Darkness Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.25
Musicianship 7.75
Lyrics 7
Production 4.75
Creativity 7.5
Lasting Value 6.25
Reviewer Tilt 7.25
Final Verdict: 68%
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Night Birds, The -The Other Side of Darkness

Reviewed by: bartels18 (09/28/11)
Night Birds-The Other Side of Darkness
Record Label:Grave Mistake Records
Release Date: September 13, 2011

The Other Side of Darkness makes me yearn to better know the forgotten relics of punk’s past, to dig up their rotting remains and reminisce over a innocent time in aggressive music. Night Birds genuine take on surf punk has the coercive power to unwillingly transport the listener back to a time before downloads, before auto tune and before those screeching, unnatural sounds known as electro pop.

While obscure punk references may not be my forte, I do know the basics and Night Birds encapsulates the best of them. From the Dead Kennedy’s twangy circus act, to The Descendants adolescent ranting, all the way to the pure rage of early Black Flag. Throw in a mouthful of horror punk and the guitar stylings of greats like Dick Dale and The Other Side of Darkness is grinning back at you. Released on September, 13 2011, The Other Side of Darkness channel’s the best of 80’s punk to create a force so devastating that you just may be forced to leave the beach.

“Demon Haunted World” is the opening track of the album and for the first 20 seconds or so you may feel these demons flying through you. A lone guitar plays somewhere in the distance as if screaming for companionship. Around ten seconds this call is answered as a Cursed-esque wall of noise blasts through the speakers. The song rolls into “Neon Gray” as singer Brian Gorsegner tells the grotesque story of a demon possessed morning followed by the angry laments of his lonely existence.

The DK inspired surf punk extravaganza doesn’t slow down until the title track “The Other Side of Darkness.” A slow brooding intro, reminiscent of something of off Hydra Head’s collection, awkwardly explodes into a riff straight from the mind of East Bay Ray. Our meaningless existence and concepts of heaven and hell are pondered by Gorsegner as guitarist Mike Hunchback continues to churn out the hot trebly sound most commonly associated with surf rock. The only instrumental on the album “Day After Trinity” is a nice addition in an album full of Gorsegner’s bratty in your face vocals.

Hunchback’s guitar is a tremendous part of the record. For two reasons, he shows his versatility within this genre of music and he sonically dominates the soundboard, as his levels are cranked up, making bassist Joe Keller barley audible. His well executed yet dull and fuzzy bass lines carry on in the shadows. Drummer Joe Mchale exerts a fast paced and brisk effort on every song of the album. The drums seem very small and in a sense act as a another audio aid that recreates the feeling of listening to that original test press you’ve been after for so long.

As a band that has been experimenting with their unique mix of surf punk for quite some time it seems that with their 5th release they finally achieved a solid and cohesive identity. Each member has helped contribute to making an album that has secured Night Birds place as an exciting up and coming band in the larger punk scene.

Recommended If You LikePunk, Early 80's Hardcore, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Dick Dale, Soundtracks to 1950's surfing movies.
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