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Tuesday, 29 November 2016 15:49

Dark Suburb: Unmasking the enigmatic bearers of African Rock Featured

Written by Amos Mabinda
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A first observation of Ghanaian alternative rock band Dark Suburb suits the description of a mystic band, they thrive in this darkly concept carrying an image of mystery but when you listen to their compositions there’s absolutely nothing twisted about the band, well apart from their oddly impressive yet artistic way of expression, be it through their poetic lyrics to their captivating videos.

The five-man band masquerades to carry the image of Africa, the members wear masks which according to them ‘highlights the point of our shared humanity and to remind us that we are one people regardless of sex, race or social status’. The costumes take over their identities which would otherwise be revealed through their names, which they would rather not use.
 
Dark Suburb’s music is basically a fusion of African rhythms with rock, through the lead singer who has taken the form of The Priest, the band creates scenarios that take you on a journey into humanity; to the dark, destitute, forgotten, heart broken, love, hate, politics and betrayal to the fun and pleasant. They traverse gloom, and in their own unique way exploit the unnoticed. The ghostly embodiment of the group is an implausible aesthetic character of the band, and so the members, but their music is filled with rich thoughts and positivity. The band peddles a legend that the Chief Priest evoked them from the dead to come entertain and educate the world through the most expressive style of music, rock. “The evocation from the dead is a rejection of stereotypes and a refusal to be incapacitated by one’s circumstances”, the band declares.

Rampaging drums and blaring guitars rock their music, alternative, with spirits from the underground, Dark Suburb are certified social justice defenders, whose castigating lyrics expose the rot in society. “Politricks” one of the skeletons-as they would otherwise be referred to-recent releases, the track is a bold condemnation of the games played by those after power, the tricks they play on others to get to the top, and how they betray their subjects’ trust hence the ironical affirmation ‘Trust me…’, the captivating beat cases that tense punk as the callous chords stretch the leveler theme of the song.
 
Hustle” another track off their upcoming album ‘The Start Looks Like The End’ features E.L. The single bears raps from E.L, laid on great lively guitar riffs. Dark Suburb’s ear-worming tune “Color Blind” is more of the picture the band has for the world, which is dominated or stuck on identities, that ‘what distinguishes me from you syndrome’ the tune wheels off their other works, but remains expressively relevant with an animated cadence that will probably leave that ring in your ear. Who wouldn’t want to be in that surreal yet adaptable universe the band looks towards.

Egobe” also featured in the much anticipated album, is a melancholic ballad, The Priest pours emotive vocals, on the tune that encompasses frustrations that come with relationships, but central is the theme of hope that someday things will get better, the moody chords are taste of satisfaction but with caution.
 
Mama” a track which features Ghana’s sensational award winning artist Wiyaala, is among our favorite picks, the song is sang in pidgin and Ghanaian dialects (Sisaala and Waale), In celebration of motherhood, the band strikes a cool, mid-tempo yet powerful character, “Mama” video storyline is a reflection of the Accra June 2016 flooding that rendered many homeless, the band’s bold statement is revealed in the rich artistry contained in the video, plus the shadowy character we have come to associate the band with, the voice of the unheard.  The song won a nomination for the AFRIMA Awards 2016 “Best Artiste/Duo/Group in African Rock” category.

The four highlighted singles have been released by the band in anticipation of their upcoming album which is scheduled to drop on October 31. The tracks on the upcoming album were produced by American producer and musician Colter harper and Lithuanian Lukas Milker live in Ghana.

Going back to their “The Awakening” EP the masked group dropped some marvelous records that included: “Get Out” an emotional almost tragic but inspiring tune produced by the amazing Kyekyeku, the tune was inspired by “Yaa Amponsah” the classic Ghanaian highlife melodies. “Jump Off A Cliff” produced by Jayso is yet another captivating tune from the group decorated great with African influences.

Dark Suburb has been around for some good amount of time, for one to ignore or fail to realize their impact on the African music scene, they might not be the voices you hear more often on the radio, but their distinctive music puts them on a different pedestal, greatness, simply described as, the bearers of African rock.

Check out “Mama” video here:
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