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The Darkness: 'Pinewood Smile'
Out Now (Pledge Music)

jeff kunze
Words: Jeff Kunze
11th October 2017

the darkness

The Darkness have uncorked 'Pinewood Smile', which is album number five and marks the recorded album debut of Rufus Tiger Taylor, son of the great Queen drummer Roger Taylor. Adrian Bushy (Muse, Foo Fighters) was enlisted to produce.

The Darkness blend AC/DC with Queen and sprinkle in clever Aerosmith inspired innuendos to create something completely their own and they have never shyed away from the humorous, tongue in cheek lyrics that border between wit and just plain silly.

The album kicks off with plenty of energy, as 'All The Pretty Girls' is a straightforward rocker with a grappling hook and soaring chorus. A title only The Darkness could have, 'Buccaneers Of Hispaniola', is another up-tempo song that doesn't quite roll into form, the big riff hitting before the chorus and continuing until the verse is catchy but the song just doesn't pull you in.

The gem of the album is 'Solid Gold'. The infectious groove carries this sing-along tune to atmospheric levels and the song hits the bullseye on every level. 'Southern Trains' is a brash slap to the face. The gang vocal chorus is down right brutal as the intensity tries to pull this one off the tracks.

The first ballad, 'Why Don't The Beautiful Cry?' touches the tender side of the band. It's a soothing little number that keeps things pretty simple and employs a tasty guitar solo, then it's here we go again with another unique title, 'Japanese Prisoner Of Love', which rides a heavy pulsating opening riff but takes several detours. A melodic chorus and a moment of harmonic bliss give the song an added dynamic. It's hard to figure out if the pieces work together or not, but the song is a real grower.

'Lay Down With Me, Barbara' is another ballad that you may think you have figured out, but there is a powerful punch that adds an unforgettable flavour to the song that really draws you in.

'I Wish I Was In Heaven' keeps to a simple structure with an up-beat tempo and some memorable guitar licks to flesh out the song and the same type of offering is found with 'Happiness', a feel-good number that draws you in with the lyrics and its uncomplicated refrain.

The acoustic closer of 'Stampede Of Love' gives way to the full band providing more layers before fading back to where it began.

Being a huge fan of the last record, on first listen 'Pinewood Smile' didn't jump out at me. The sound seems more stripped down and not quite as vibrant. That being said, the more time spent digging into this album, the more enjoyable it becomes. The Darkness can be hit or miss and this album probably won't be any different. There is plenty of good stuff on 'Pinewood Smile' but you might need to give it some time before reaping its rewards.

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The Darkness:
Justin Hawkins – Vocals, Guitar
Dan Hawkins – Guitar
Frankie Poullain – Bass
Rufus Tiger Taylor - Drums



Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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