Dark Age - Minus Exitus

Dark Age is one of those bands you probably have never heard of, even though the Melodic Death Metal act has been struggling for a certain degree of recognition outside their native Germany for over ten years, issuing four albums along the way.
Not knowing the previous works of Dark Age, with which the band have somehow failed to establish a name for themselves, “Minus Exitus” their fifth full-length work, however leads me to think that success is within the grasp of this German band for they possess a remarkable ability to fuse Scandinavian-flavoured melodies with Death-Metal aggression. A careless listener would most probably write this album off as an instantly accessible and worn-out blend of ear-sweet melodies and fierce-yet-catchy riffs, a tactic already abused by a zillion of other bands, mostly from North Europe. Sure, it’s a sound that bears a close resemblance to groups like Soilwork, In Flames and Dark Tranquillity, yet “Minus Exitus” displays enough diversity in style to distinguish them from the crowd of the New Wave of Swedish Death Metal worshipers. While the opening title theme brings to mind the latest works from Soilwork, mostly due to its upbeat approach sustained by a strong, memorable chorus, where the polarity of guitarist Eike Freese’s voice (raging from a raspy growl to a deep, clean tone) is identifiable with Bjorn "Speed" Strid performance, the following track “Black September” however has a direct, catchy structure and a dark atmosphere somehow reminiscent of Samael.
Elsewhere, the sound of “Minus Exitus” flows in a similar fashion, with the exception of “No Way Home”, which sounds a bit out of place here as the quintet drifts into a Paradise Lost gothic-alike territory. Besides this minor inadequacy, “Minus Exitus” is an impressive and memorable album that will surely see Dark Age breaking through the confines of German underground. (7/10)

Band info: www.dark-age.de
Label info: www.remedyrecords.de