The best rock album of 2019

Perhaps because they seemed to burn out way too soon or maybe because they just clowned around a little too much, The Darkness still don’t get the recognition they truly deserve as one of the best rock and roll bands of the past two decades. 

By the end of the opening track of Easter is Cancelled, no one should be in any doubt. The main riff in “Rock and Roll Deserves to Die” is fantastic, with that in the title track almost as amazing, as Justin Hawkins hits some of the highest falsetto notes he’s ever attempted. Meanwhile, brother Dan steps out with both an endless array of shit-hot riffs and spectacular soloing. This is the album that truly reveals how good The Darkness actually is as a band, one that is capable of great songs as well as plenty of laughs, even as they tackle less than amusing subjects.

In spite of their name, The Darkness has never been a dark band, but Easter is Cancelled is a song cycle that explores the dark side of being a rock and roll band and the sacrifices and heartaches that go along with it. Along the way, The Darkness explore metal, punk and even jazz, ditching the raw power for an acoustic interlude (“Deckchair”) featuring only Justin and bassist Frankie Poullain before slamming back into rock mode again with the scorching title cut. Lyrically this plays out like a semi-autobiographical self-parody, with some of Hawkins’ funniest observations to date – “Heavy Metal Lover” is hilarious, complete with a mock death growl and lines about black pyjamas and Satan worship. The humour tempers the cautionary storyline but never gets in the way of the music – top-gear hard rock and roll with some of the heaviest (and coolest) riffs The Darkness has ever recorded.

With Justin’s stratospheric vocal histrionics, Dan’s wild and prolific fretboard mayhem and seriously solid songcraft, Easter is Cancelled is The Darkness at their best. This is the best rock album of 2019 so far.

  1. Rock and Roll Deserves to Die
  2. How Can I Lose Your Love
  3. Live til I Die
  4. Heart Explodes
  5. Deck Chair
  6. Easter is Cancelled
  7. Heavy Metal Lover
  8. In Another Life
  9. Choke on It
  10. We Are the Guitar Men