Megalodon is named after the long-dead Carcharodon megalodon, a massive species of shark which once ruled the oceans. The name evolved beyond merely depicting a shark to a planet-devouring entity (shown on the album cover) as mighty as C. Megalodon once was.
Before I heard Megalodon, I’d heard very little djent metal, so it was slightly difficult to dissect the sound of this album. For me, a particularly likeable aspect of Megalodon’s sound is that it initially comes across as being a wall of sound, yet reveals interesting subtleties upon closer listening.
Vocalist Thomas Theron alternates between growled and rasped vocals. This works well, and doesn’t stray into schizophrenic territory. Theron has a distinctive vocal style, and a talent for writing thought-provoking lyrics. Extreme metal bands who craft lyrics with care add an extra layer of grandiosity to their material, in my opinion. The strong music, lyrics and vocals of Megalodon combine to create a towering behemoth of extreme metal.
Although extreme, there is restraint in the music; there are well-placed quiet interludes, contrasting guitar lines and tempo changes that give the listener respite. In Dual Vision Triple Sonic, a quiet interlude highlights a reverb-filled guitar solo which plays over an ‘outer space’ sound effect. The quieter part on Omnipresent Authority Figure highlights some great riffs. By contrasting guitar lines, I mean a sequence where one guitar is playing palm-muted riffs while the other plays cleaner notes or a solo. Lead riffs play over a rumbling bass line in Beyond Within, while The Unexpected contains a stunning solo towards the end of the song which I found rather moving. The drum patterns are unusual at times (as in Umbilical Embroidery) and keep the overall rhythm crushing yet interesting. I enjoyed the prominent toms in Umbilical Embroidery and Darkness in Sonance. Most of the time I couldn’t distinguish the bass guitar from the rhythm guitar, but this added to the ‘wall of sound’ effect of the music.
I would call the production very good to excellent; I feel that the instruments, effects and vocals were well-placed in the mix. The effects were subtle enough not to overshadow the music itself, yet prominent enough to add a discernible layer of interest to the tracks.
Darkness in Sonance is a thought-provoking album that is never boring. Extreme elements combined with restraint and great song writing made for a very interesting listening experience. Beware, Earth. The planet-devourer is circling…
Personnel: Ruan Jordaan – guitars and programming
Louis Henn - guitars and programming
Eren Nuri Grobbelaar – bass guitar
Dane Canterbury – drums and programming
Thomas Theron - vocals
Web presence: http://www.facebook.com/megalodonza