"Dark Side Bright Side" (Self-released; 2023)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I've never done this in a review before, but Dark Side Bright Side's self-titled album is so complex, I wanted to share the band's description of the album (copied and pasted from their Facebook page) with you, our loyal Rough Edge readers:

"Dark Side Bright Side’s first work is a concept album divided in two blocks. The first one is centered on the creation of life and the depiction of various and peculiar ways of surviving of some forms of life in our world. Like the Nautilus, a living fossil, who managed to keep unchanged its biological system for millennia by living in solitude in the depths of the oceans; or the olive tree who defeats death by dividing its trunk, once empty and dry, into smaller branches, which will continue to live on. The second block takes direct inspiration from the illness of Marco’s (the band's composer) mother, the cancer, the realization of the existence of death and the grief. A philosophical concept, like the proprioception (our ability to perceive our physical world), has been used as a synonym of our capability to perceive our existence and at the same time to understand death. Impressive and thriving ecosystems living in earth sinkholes, called Cenotes, are compared to the memories of the loved ones who left us. Each track was composed and arranged following fictional stories, which can be seen as some kind of movie plot. Hope you will like it."

I thought that description was important to share because it gives you an idea about what to expect from "Dark Side Bright Side." It's an amazingly intelligent, surprisingly intricate and stunningly atmospheric recording that surrounds you with sounds from many various genres of music, and tells its story in a rich, ultimately rewarding way. Most of this album is heavy, progressive metal but there are spots of other genres there as well, whatever the band felt necessary to tell their story and infuse it with the appropriate emotion. The lyrics are sharp and smart, although you may have to listen to them several times to get everything because the vocals are sometimes gruff and loud (but, again, not always).

I hesitate to use this term but this is thinking man's heavy metal. This is music you have to focus on to get the full benefit of. This is the kind of album that almost overwhelms you with its gravity, its import, its complexities. So, no, this album isn't for everyone and that's okay. If you prefer music that doesn't challenge you, then "Dark Side Bright Side" isn't for you (and nobody will blame you for that). But if you're looking for a heavy, thought-provoking and compelling musical experience, then look no further.

At this moment, it looks like this album is only available on streaming services. Click here to find it on Spotify.

For more information, check out https://www.facebook.com/darksidebrightsideband/.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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