“Two guys who grew up listening to heavy rock and it became ingrained in them.
The dream is to make music that does exactly the same to others and let that passion carry on eternally.
Declan and Ray give every song their heart and soul, living every second of every note.”
(Darkjoy Facebook page.)
Darkjoy, the brainchild of Classic Rock vocalist and aficionado Declan Joyce, emerged circa the summer of ‘17 when his daughter bought him a recording voucher for The Forge Record Studio, Galway for his birthday….
Now, how many of us out there have received vouchers for various stores and goods throughout our lives only to still have said voucher either crumpled up somewhere, sitting in our wallets over expired by about three years, faded away by left in the arse pocket of our jeans and machine washed into oblivion or as a lost and forgotten book marker in that novel we half read years ago and would always promise to go back and finnish someday soon…… Not Declan. He went and recorded a 40 minute, 9 track album ‘Darklings Dream’, an album choc full of hard rock riffs and blistering solos and didn't stop there as now we review his second full length album ‘Darkjoy II’.
‘DJ II’ sees Declan reteam with bandmate, recordist and music virtuoso, Ray Diamond who co wrote Darklings Dream with him.
Darklings Dream was a very ambitious and hugely enjoyable experience but the Classic Rock Duo have really outdone themselves on ‘DJ II’ in my opinion as from the first listen this is an album jam packed with variety, diversity, hook, riffs and ear-worms galore!
The album Jets off with the speedy and snappy ‘Skydive’, an adrenaline rush of a track which reminds me of early Molly Hatchet channeled through Iron Maiden with its southern metallic melodies and is classic rocks spirit child to Megadeth's ‘High Speed Dirt’. The track breezes seamlessly to ‘Life Is Life’ a perfect track for cruising down the backroads and country side on a summers evening with its feel good bluesy vide and southern rock hooks until the album shifts from second straight to fourth gear with The Warrior in The Wind, a track that could easily sit on either ‘Mob Rules’, or dare I say ‘Heaven And Hell’, by the mighty Black Sabbath.
This track starts off in a classic Ronnie James Dio vain, like ‘Holy Diver’, but on speed, before kicking it up another gear midway through and charging into full force pounding Heavy Metal territory .
The music and vocals not only on this track but throughout the album complement each other perfectly, with Dec’s range from Dio to Ozzy to Lemmy shining the whole way through along with Rays incredible musician-man ship.
This album really is a fantastic listen altogether, as you can tell that both Dec and Ray are pretty much veterans at what they do and the multitalented Ray really shimmers here. His playing and performance on the record really is second to none as the track and one of the many highlights on the album ‘The Dogs of War’ beautifully illustrates.
If the guys were to release a single, i’d strongly suggest this one as it exhibits everything about the sublime, raw talent of Darkjoy starting off with majestical and epic lead like that not unfamiliar in a symphonic power metal ballad, before coming in with a crunchy, catchy chorus before ascending into a multilayered verse with more layers, tone and sound that you could shake a studded leather glove at!
‘We Are One’, is what early black Sabbath would sound like if Trent Reznor were to produce with its dark bluesy riffs and industrial tint which it works surprisingly well.
As the album bounds on there are still surprises aplenty before before the final track, such as ‘The Legion Born’, the sequel to ‘Legion Of The Damned’, from ‘Darklings Dream’. This track transcends into a funky rock flourish with dual, triple and quadruple solos flying in from all angles that you’ll be doing well to keep up and take it all in.
‘Angers Rising’, is another fist pounding anthem and ‘Dragons And Angels’ would not be out of place on the classic ‘Machine Head’, by ’Deep Purple’.
All in all this is an incredibly accomplished record and there’s something for everyone in here.
It basically plays out like a compilation CD of all your favourite classic rock band and tracks on one disk.
If anyone else could cram as much diversity and variety into an album please let me know as I'd sure like to hear it.
Musically this album is without flaw, the performances from both Dec and Ray are hard to beat, the arrangements unmatched and the performances spectacular.
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