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The best kept secret in music


"Darkling "Sweet Sister Vengeance""

Local Band Darkling is by far one of the most underrated bands in Buffalo. I fist saw them play a show a couple of weeks ago and was blown away. I could barely keep my jaw off the floor. As a lover of most things rock (as defined by bands that do not have a number of misspelled words in the name), Darkling made me forget the fact that I wanted to get home to be at work early the next morning. Staying fro one song turned into hoping they would play just one more. Another impressing detail about this band is that yes, they are great live and yes, their CD is good too!

While there are only three songs on the CD (and one Howard Stern type hidden track) they are packed full of rock the way it's meant to be played. Engaging, high energy music with amazing and crazy guitar lines and solos, a bass section that gets your blood pumping, intelligent lyrics, and vocals that made my knees weak. How does anyone sing like this? Tack one "The Opposition," my favorite song on this CD, has the serious thrust and aggression that is missing in the so-called rock music of today. - Jaime Dombrowski

"All Darkling, No Covers"

'I don't believe you have to play other people's covers for people to have a good time,' says Darkling's Jason Russo.

Author: Dave Richards

Staff writer

Section: Music
Page: 1

After he joined the band, Jason Russo had an inkling Darkling would take off. Everyone was on the same page, the one that proclaims the best metal has muscle and melody.

Darkling has both. With Russo's meaty, yet expressive voice and a full-throttle, full-bore attack, the group comes on like a runaway Judas Priest; it lurches like a locomotive. But their originals also feature unexpected detours and breaks that puts them into more ambitious territory — a la Queensryche or Iron Maiden.

Darkling formed a dozen years ago but — except for mainstay Chris Hannen — shuffled players in and out. Russo joined nearly five years ago, replacing a vocalist who was more screamer than singer.

"They had a heavier style vocalist before, and I sing. I do more vocal melodies and less screaming," Russo said. "I'm classically and operatically trained, actually. I took music theory and piano lessons."

He also took his no-nonsense, focused attitude into Darkling.

"I'm hyper, and I like to work," says Russo, who drinks coffee and AMP. "If I do something, I don't like to do it halfway. Chris [Hannen], he's just as ambitious as me. But he just could never find musicians who were as motivated or as into it as him. He had a lot of struggles through the years, which we all do. But you're only as strong as your weakest link."

RUSSO SPENT TIME AWAY FROM music just before he joined Darkling. He gave it up while finishing his college degree in information technology and starting a web-design business. When he got the music itch again, he was intent on finding a serious band. His first Darkling meeting proved he joined the right outfit.

"We all sat down and said, 'Let's write like every song is an opener.' You know when you go to see a metal band and they have that kick-ass opening tune that everyone loves because it's high-energy? We said, 'Let's make every song like that.' That's basically what we did, and we kept getting better and better."

Darkling has opened shows for Ratt's Stephen Pearcy, former Priest singer Tim "Ripper" Owens, and Metal Church.

"The guy in Metal Church came out and wore our shirt," Russo said. "I asked if he wanted to trade shirts, and he was like, 'I can't do that.' I said, 'Fine. Here, but you got to wear it.' And he did. He did the whole show with a Darkling shirt on."

Darkling's stubbornness in Buffalo's bar scene has also paid off. The band refuses to play cover songs.

"We played for free a lot of times," Russo said. "For the first year, we opened for our friends and opened for other people, and we proved ourselves. We started drawing as much as any cover band. Once you're in the door, and the club owners see you draw, then they book you."

As much as he loves Priest and Iron Maiden, he wasn't tempted to sing their songs just to make fans and bar owners happy.

"It's not about the money," he said. "It's about writing songs. I don't believe you have to play other people's covers for people to have a good time. People are singing our songs now. When people go out on the weekends, they just want to have a couple beers, forget their problems, forget the bills and the junk of life, and have a good time. I personally believe it doesn't matter what song the band is playing. They're going to have a good time if you're having a good time."

Darkling's first full-length CD "Sin King" will be released soon.

Darkling, Katet, Death Rattle

will perform Saturday at 10 p.m. at State Street Tavern, 1013 State St. Admission is $3.

For More Information on Darkling, visit online at www.suckloud.com.
Dave Richards can be reached
at 870-1703 or by e-mail at

Copyright 2005 Erie Times-News
Record Number: 10907E0BB2036D2C
- Dave Richards


2003, Sweet Sister Vengeance
2005, SinKing


Feeling a bit camera shy


Darkling is Heavy Metal band combining old school metal with a new school heavy edge. Not alternative, not death metal just straight-forward, in your face rock-n-roll. Darkling grabs the audience from the first note and doesn’t let go until the last.

If you haven't heard Darkling before, now is the time. If you are a fan of Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Pantera, then Darkling is the band for you.