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Dark Design | Prey for the Future

by Justin Gaines
– Senior Columnist/News Editor —

Dark Design Prey for the FutureIf the Heaven & Hell Records roster can be said to have a type, it’s probably a hybrid of thrash and power metal sounds with a strong ‘80s influence. Bands like Ancient Creation, Seventh Calling and Core Device all fit that mold, as does North Carolina band Dark Design, who has recently delivered their full length debut, titled Prey for the Future.

Where Dark Design deviates from the formula a bit is that there’s a technicality on display that comes pretty close to progressive metal territory. The overall sound on Prey for the Future still relies heavily on high speed riffs and heavy, headbanging rhythms, but between the intricate guitar work, melodic aspects, science fiction themes and the unique vocals (Andrew Bertrand has a Joey Belladonna meets Harry Conklin thing going on), there’s a lot more going on than is evident at first.

Once they get the instrumental intro out of the way, the song “Dark Design” kicks in and does a great job capturing the band’s overall sound. The album stumbles a bit with the oddly titled (and very personal and vindictive) “Welcome to You’re (Doom!),” but gets back on track with the Wheel of Time-inspired “Dragonmount” and “Spice World,” which seems like a nod to Dune but cleverly pivots to the situation in the Middle East. The album closes on a controversial note, with a full-on metal version of the Kansas classic “Dust in the Wind.” People are going to either totally love or totally hate that one.

Dark Design isn’t necessarily reinventing the genre here, but they do play this kind of metal very well. If you’re into classic bands like Vicious Rumors, Helstar, Liege Lord and Jag Panzer, Dark Design is a band that’s well worth checking out. And of course if you’ve kept up with the Heaven & Hell label’s releases to date, chances are you’ll be just as happy with Prey for the Future. It’s a very solid nod to the old school heavy metal sound.

Genre: Power Metal, Thrash Metal

Andrew Bertrand (v)
Ray Lewis (g)
Mike Joyner (g)
Matt Mercer (b)
Robbie Mercer (d)

Track Listing:
1. In Medias Res
2. Dark Design
3. No Death
4. Abiding Contempt
5. Welcome to You’re “Doom”!
6. Dragonmount
7. Meditations
8. Spice World
9. Dust in the Wind

Label: Heaven & Hell Records


Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10