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***ON LIMITED CLEAR + BLUE VINYL!!! The Dark were a Cleveland hardcore / deathrock hybrid that in many ways was ground zero for The Guns, Spike in Vain, Knifedance, and several more beyond. For The Dark’s first ever vinyl album Dressing The Corpse, Scat has collected highlights from sessions recorded between 1981 and 1984 that range from savage post-punk (imagine Venom covering Warsaw), to raging exacto-knife thrashers, deathrock, and proto-black metal —there’s even the requisite creepy, atmospheric instrumental to open the album (“Beyond The Ice”)—which is naturally followed by “Fire In The Church.” Then things go other places, the group covered a lot of ground in its two and a half years and were always ahead of the curve.
Although the band’s median age ranges from fifteen to seventeen across these recordings, the rhythm section is second to none. The guitar playing is way further afield than most hardcore bands of the era. Namesake vocalist Tom Dark howls like a wolf, and could command a stage like few others. To be fair, the band’s youth does make itself known in some of the lyrics, but otherwise you’d never guess this was just a bunch of kids—it needn’t be graded on a curve.
The Dark had auspicious beginnings. They cut their teeth as The Decapitators in 1979, learning to play at the feet of the electric eels, Pagans, Dead Boys, and Cramps. After a year off, the four reformed to play only originals as The Dark, and almost immediately Mike Hudson of the Pagans wanted to manage the band. Included here is a demo Hudson recorded just three weeks after the band’s first practice. Hudson only lasted a year, but it was a hell of a start. The majority of the recordings on Dressing The Corpse are culled from the band’s 1984 album Scream Until We Die, which was not released until 2006 when Grand Theft Audio did a comprehensive double CD version of it. Included here are a few of the best non-album tracks from that release as well. Previously unreleased tracks include the aforementioned Hudson demo, as well as a previously unknown second demo from early 1982, ably representing the pre-thrash version of the band.
#1 Beyond the Ice
#2 Fire in the Church
#3 No Eyes
#5 Last Day
#6 The Voice Is Dead / Shattered Trust
#7 I Can Wait (1981 demo)
#8 Screeching Metal (1982 demo)
#9 Put Your Hand through the Plastic (1982 demo)
#10 You Got What You Wanted (radio broadcast 1982)