The Best Band in Hawaii is Darkest Path

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Who will it be?

It’s been a mild October here in Canada. As I enjoy the cool evening air and crack open my next beer, many thoughts flit through my mind. Thoughts like: Why am I drinking so much on a work night? What’s the point of cleaning up these bottles if I’m just going to make the same mess tomorrow night? And: What the hell do I even know about Hawaii?

The first two questions I answered with great ease (1: because beer is life, and 2: there isn’t one), but the key to solving the riddle of the third question eluded me. Sure, there are some things I do know about Hawaii: it’s a cluster of islands off the west coast of the United States of America; it became part of the USA when Ronald Regan arm wrestled Fidel Castro for keeps in a seedy dockside bar back in ’48; all Hawaiian women wear grass skirts and coconut bras; all Hawaiian men are badass Dothraki; the Hawaiian language is a crazy mess with vowels at the end of every word; the only instruments in Hawaii are ukeleles.

Well, I assumed that last fact was true — that is, until I heard Darkest Path. If Paul Karaffa, the mastermind behind Hawaii’s premier solo melodic black metal onslaught, was using ukeleles to record Apostasy of Man, I need to find the person who made such an instrument and immediately purchase all of them.

Seriously, Darkest Path grabbed me right off the bat by combining a melodic intellectuality with the brvtality of black and death metal. The harsh vocals call to mind the black metal/prog legend Ihsahn while the instruments blend together multiple styles of metal but retain accessability that immediately appeals to the listener. One of the album’s strongest features is Karaffa’s ability to vary the rhythms to create shifting moods and textures; the result is far from boring. The clean vocals, though sparse, are weak, and are the only real drawback to an otherwise very well written, powerful album packed full of killer riffs (“Purifying the Diseased” has got a stellar hook; a solid contender for the Toilet’s own Riff of the Week). However, I appreciate the talent that is so prominent on the album to such a degree that I’m willing to overlook what is a relatively small and infrequent flaw.

I’m spinning this album again, and each time I listen to it I find myself enjoying it more and more. There are tasty riffs galore, melodic atmosphere to suit even the most power-metal of individuals, and enough blackened death to keep the grvmmest of the grvm happy. Darkest Path’s ability to shift seamlessly through metal subgenres is their greatest strength, and with this album being as solid as it is, I’m very excited to see the development of Karaffa’s project. In the meantime, I’m going to play this excellent disk again.

However, I’m a mere chip dip, and you probably don’t trust the opinion of something that’s 75% avocado. I knew you were going to feel this way, so the illustrious and talented George W. Bush has graced the Toilet to support me. So there!

W.: “‘The Incorruptibles’ brings the riffs and provides an elemental backdrop to a pagan tale of forbidden desires and arcane rituals. What I really enjoy about this song is the clarity of the vocals that are accentuated by the riffs rather than combating the instruments for space. The spiraling leads at the end are a nice touch too. For such a sunny and cheerful land, Hawaii has certainly spawned a grim band in Darkest Path.”

Listen to “The Incorruptibles” here, like Darkest Path on Facebook, and purchase Apostasy of Man here. I highly recommend the full album!

 

HONORABLE MENTION:

Crucible – Headbang worthy, Sepultura-esque heavy metal! Listen to “Unshattered”


The Toilet ov Hell is on an absurd quest to find the best unsigned band in each state of this glorious union. The purpose? To shine the spotlight on bands that deserve more exposure. Also, we’re going to determine once and for all the greatest state in the nation. Each state winner is decided by a collection of 25 judges. After we’ve announced the winner of each state, we’re gonna throw them all in a winner-take-all bracket and leave the votes up to you. Who will be the best unsigned band in the United States? Which state is superior? We can’t wait to find out.

Previous winners:
Alabama — Phylum
Alaska — Terraform
Arizona – Take Over And Destroy
Arkansas – Torii
California – Destroy Judas
Colorado – The Sleer
Connecticut – Autumn’s Eyes
Delaware – Sloss
Florida – Capracide
Georgia – Lost Hours

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