I really thought I had Dark Age sussed by the end of the first two tracks. Two rather decent tracks of what anyone now over the age of 25 would dub Gothic Metal (before lazy P.R. Types and journos used the term to mean “Any Metal band with a female singer” and the male fronted bands found themselves without a genre). My review was all set be along the lines of “Yeah, Dark Age sound similar to Evereve and To/Die/For – catchy Dark Metal with a touch of Sentenced in the riffs and Beseech in the samples” Ha! I can be down the pub within the hour! But no…there’s more to this German band than I initially thought…
Then it clicked – Dark Age! I remember this lot! Those first two tracks totally threw me. I heard their “The Silent Republic” CD about 10 years ago, but they were much more in the style of this album’s third track ‘Out Of Time’, which sounds more like Dark Tranquillity and Divercia. Dark Ages, despite their quite modern audio leanings have actually been around for more than 15 years so there are bound to be elements picked up from various genres over the years. Their earlier style still presents itself to varying degrees throughout “A Matter Of Trust”, though tracks such as ‘Dark Sign’, Don’t Let The Devil Get Me’ and ‘Fight!’ lean more towards latter-day In Flames than say, Norther (who I thought they had a sound of back when I first heard them). Dark Ages 2013 do seem to nod towards the commercial a little more. Sometimes in a positive way – ‘Glory’ and ‘My Saviour’ are fine examples of well executed aforementioned classic Dark Metal, sound-checking bands like Charon, To/Die/For, Sentenced and Poisonblack. Sometimes it veers a little too far towards the commercial (‘The Great Escape’ sounds a bit too much like My Chemical Romance for my taste), but I guess when you are heading down that accessible path then why not chuck in what you think works.
And this really is a very accessible album. Possibly a little TOO accessible at times – a little too obvious maybe – and it’s probably one of the most commercial things on Ave Noctum this month, but there are some great riffs, hooks and even a couple of pretty cool solos on offer. This is definitely a Metal band and there is a maturity that lifts Dark Age above any debut band that might produce an album of this style that may get branded otherwise. They have more influences to throw in because they have been around a bit longer. “A Matter Of Trust” has elements that I really like, but as a package I’m not really sure who it’s aimed at. I feel sure there is a scene in their homeland that this album slots nicely into and just because I’m not into it or familiar with it, that doesn’t mean it’s not there. And I’ve certainly heard a damn sight worse from bands that I once called myself a fan of!
(6/10 Andy Barker)