Canterbury rockers Strife Darko are about to launch themselves onto the British rock scene with a bang that they describe to us as “a blitzkrieg of folk, rock and something unexpected.”
The band began as a solo project crafted by frontman George Berry. He soon added Trash Mammoth (stay tuned for more on them shortly) members drummer Jack Norton and bassist Tom Edwards, who George knew as a YouTuber and spoke to within an online friends group for two years before realising he lived five miles away – not in California.
The band will release their debut album Kill Gaia next month, to which we’ve had a sneaky preview listen – and it sounds fantastic. The first offering from it is lead single Fear The Old Blood.
It opens up with a cool little guitar riff that’s soon joined by backing guitar chords then continues through an angsty opening verse led by edgy vocals, which open with the awesome line “Here is the problem; the people keep bleeding, And only the people with money stay dry.”
A bigger chorus follows with the vocals “Show me we’re different, Show me we’re capable of, Being more than belligerent, Is there a greater cause?” That’s extended with drawn-out repeats of “Cause” over a big smash of guitars, which drop into a hit of the opening riff then a bigger second verse. A second chorus is followed by a big section of wild vocals over a big riff then it drops into the opening riff, then goes out with a bang with big screams.
It’s fast-paced, rocky and edgy and I think you’ll love it. Check it out in the video below:
This is the first taste of what’s coming with their debut album, on which George explains: “A lot of the songs may seem morose and bleak on first listen, but that’s not really the point. I want to hold a mirror up to people and say “this is us, we are nothing” but then use that as a blank canvas to really ask ourselves what we can be if we just cleanse all the meaningless bullshit we find ourselves born into.”
While Jack adds “I can’t speak for anything to do with the lyrical value of our songs, but I’ve been trying to bring some element of hip-hop in the drumming on our new stuff. I get very excited by very punchy drums which somewhat explains the stop/start nature of our new tracks.”
As Jack suggests the band draws influence from a range of different genres, but with the new album the largest influence has been Everything Everything and mewithoutYou. As George explains: “There’s even a song on the album (Ecclesiastes 1:9) that directly references Aaron Weiss from mewithoutYou and how people initially stated I sounded like him. I’d have to say they’re masters of their respective crafts with no-one quite like them.”
When it comes to what inspires them to write music, George tells us: “Plagiarism mostly. I watch movies or play games and take influences from there, try to take a character and put it in front of a different lens like in Penfield Mood Organ, which was inspired by Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
“That one is all about an android asking their creator why they would create something to simply kill it and comparing it to how ‘God’ treats humans, pointing out that if androids are capable of so much more than humans then maybe humans are capable of more than God. Other times I’ll just be piss-arsing about on Wikipedia and find a cool thought experiment like Theseus’ Paradox and wonder how that can be applied to other things which then results in a track.”
And in slightly less philosophical manner Tom, who joined the project without owning a bass nor being able to play it, adds: “I don’t know what these jokers are smoking but, for me, it’s all about what sounds good. You hit some notes, EWWW. Hit some different notes, YEAH! And you keep doing that until you’ve got a song. I can’t speak for the others, but there’s this old belief that demons work through you. I can’t remember exactly what it said, but something about either an old word or older etymology for the word talented.”
The debut album Kill Gaia is out next month, and we’ll bring you more on that shortly. You can see the band live supporting Alive In Lights at The Lady Luck Bar in Canterbury on 20 February, more details on that are here.