“We're often lectured about how much nicer the world would be if we were all “a bit more kind”, says new singer Tom West.
“It’s a lovely sentiment, but if we aren’t standing up to bullies, we aren't being “more kind” at all, we're just being cowards and hypocrites. Calling out a bigot doesn’t make you as bad as the bigot.”
West continues: “Often the worst bullies use their massive platforms to attack marginalised groups, and then claim they’re the ones being bullied when people fight back. Cruel to Be is dedicated to anyone who’s fed up with being told they're overreacting to being smeared and dehumanised by professional antagonists with enormous wealth, reach and influence.”
DARKO has pulled few punches since West - previously of Almeida - was unveiled as the band’s new vocalist, replacing Dan Smith who fronted the band from 2010 to 2020. Recently the band has made headlines for calling for a cull of misogynists within the punk rock community in ‘The Ladder’, and a misanthropic attack on selfishness in COVID-era Britain in ‘AUX’.
The theme of standing up to structural injustice endures here, with barbs such as “Be kind all you like, but does it nullify their cruel, barbaric policies?”
Alongside being perhaps the most provocative offering, this third single from the upcoming EP ‘SPARKLE’ is DARKO’s most sonically unconventional release to date. Longtime fans of the skate punk stalwarts are bound to have strong opinions about the departure of their signature double-time drum assault, in favour of explosive post-hardcore sensibilities, funk-influenced bass licks, and stadium-rock choruses taking the band’s sound to bold, unchartered territory.
‘Cruel to Be’ is available now on all digital platforms, with ‘SPARKLE’ set for release via Lockjaw (EU) and Thousand Island Records (CA) this fall.
UK veterans Darko return with SPARKLE, a genre-defying EP showcasing classic Darko vibes mixed with some new twists and turns. It’s also the quintet’s first release featuring new frontman, Tom West, previously of Almeida.
SPARKLE will be available digitally, on 4-panel wallet CD and colored 12″ vinyl EP cut at 45 RPM.
Fans who want early access to all four tracks can purchase an exclusive 34-minute 4K feature, directed by Benny P (KoRn, Lenny Kravitz, Buzzcocks), featuring candid interviews and playthrough videos of ‘SPARKLE’ in its entirety. ‘SPARKLE IN MOTION’, is available today on Vimeo On Demand.
Cruel To Be
All songs written by DARKO
EP Produced and Mastered by Will Duff at Goliath Sound Studios
Drums Recorded by Daly George at The Ranch
Drums Edited by Charlie Munro at Munro Audio
Extra Vocals in The Ladder by Katz Hinsley, from Follow You Dreams
EP Artwork by Helena Smyth AlphineAyita
Over a raucous decade, DARKO have by definition, become veterans of the UK Punk scene and it is not uncommon to see them standing as an essential name within the intricate and complex world of contemporary Punk and Hardcore.
The band, urgent and charged with conviction, are set to continue championing and contributing to the health of the very scene that birthed them as they pen the narrative of their new chapter.
In 2020, longtime voicebox Dan Smith returned to his native Australia and parted ways with the band after so long in the vox seat. Dan’s evocative, emphatic and emotional lyricisms have left quite the legacy throughout the band's releases. Darko's four other noisemakers have curated a backdrop of vicious, hybridised Skate Punk and Melodic Hardcore that has been pushed beyond itself across thirty countries.
Darko have now enlisted longtime touring compadre Tom West of UK shredders, Almeida. The band have never hid from what ails them or the society they inhabit but with West at the vocal helm now and forgoing the complacent societal padding forced upon us all, his lyrical discomfort has spurred the band’s most unbarred barrage yet. There is nothing hidden here, nothing soaked in distracted metaphor or softened non-confrontational rhetoric, Darko are making full use of their scene privilege and challenging people who look akin to them to unleash their own salvos. But what of the backing? These are stops that have also been beyond pulled.
Darko’s evolution is tied to their past but with threads so long that there is an abundance of slack to play with. Notes of Polar Bear Club, Mastodon, A Wilhelm Scream, Protest The Hero, Rise Against and Propagandhi can all be savoured in their contemporary flavour profile. Serrated, lacerating Thrash and metallic digressions contrast the meandering guitar lines rooted in Skate Punk classicism. Writhing, emotive and complicated Post-Hardcore structures supplement the “techy” displays they are known for as an overarching and indisputably Punk-charged Prog-aesthetic allows the versatile and varied vocal range to seamlessly traverse the entirety.
Rob, Chris, Karl, Andy and now Tom have come together to the highest degree, poised and proud to show you a reimagined, powerful and determined Darko.
What people are saying
“Melodic and heavy, fast and intricate, Darko plays furious melodic hardcore in incendiary live shows.” – FRONT Magazine
‘They’ve got the skills and imagination to make this a heart-racing listen… check out Darko right now’ – Big Cheese
“Alright, let’s just get this out there for everyone: this band is composed of some SERIOUS rippers.” – Dying Scene
“Darko match A Wilhelm Scream act perfectly for on-stage energy, shredability and a hard-working but fun attitude. Darko never give less than 110% live and they always have the best time doing it.” – Shout Louder
'Techy skate-punk for fans of Belvedere and Strung Out' - Rock Sound