Darkwater are a progressive metal quintet from Sweden whose intensely melodic signature is given form in intricate, hooky compositions, though the soaring clear tenor vocals of guitarist Henrik Båth have always set them apart from their European peers. Darkwater records only sporadically; they labor over what ends up on albums for years -- the gap between the acclaimed Where Stories End and Human was nearly a decade. Their twin guitar- and keyboard-driven attack is lush, balancing heaviness with an orchestral sense of drama more often than not.
Darkwater formed in 2003 in western Sweden. Its membership -- Båth, vocals/guitars; Magnus Holmberg, keyboards; Markus Sigfridsson, guitars; Tobias Enbert, drums; Karl Wassholm, bass -- spent four years together experimenting with and establishing a sound, playing only a few select shows in Sweden. Toward the end of 2006, they began writing and arranging the material that would end up on their 2007 debut offering, Calling the Earth to Witness, a self-funded effort that they offered to Sweden's prestigious metal label Ulterium Records. The label dropped four subsequent singles from the album, spreading the band's reputation at home and in the rest of Europe.
Released in May, the set received universally positive reviews, and the outfit's seamless meld of harmonic and progressive metal was something the European scene was craving. Darkwater took inspiration from American bands such as Dream Theater, Symphony X, and Gothenburg's Evergrey, but created a balanced sound uniquely and distinctly their own. In addition to playing shows across Europe in support of the album, Darkwater recorded and released a music video for the track "The Play II" and in June left home for their first North American gig at the Bay Area Rock Fest, sharing a stage with Liquid Tension Experiment, Jeff Scott Soto, and others.
Wassholm left the band in 2009 and was replaced by ex-Pain of Salvation bassist Simon Andersson. Between April and September of 2010 Darkwater recorded, mixed, and mastered the full-length Where Stories End, and produced a music video for opening track and first single, "Breathe." The album leaned hard on progressive sounds without sacrificing their particular brand of heaviness. It garnered even better reviews than its predecessor and provided the band with more opportunities to tour -- which they did like road dogs; they spent years traveling with only short breaks between stints. In September 2011, Darkwater participated in the 12th edition of ProgPower USA and toured the country afterwards before going on to the U.K., where they wowed audiences, sharing stages with Opeth and Amaranthe.
In the spring of 2013, Darkwater announced they were writing their third album, which they anticipated would be released in 2015. Creative and practical delays, the band's trademark creative stubbornness, tours, and personal issues saw that deadline come and go several times. It took until the beginning of 2019 for album number three to come to fruition. Titled Human, the self-produced set offered songs at once heavier, even more melodic, and multi-dimensionally atmospheric than ever before. Its ten tracks (that clock in at over 76 minutes) were mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe). Human was released by Ulterium at the beginning of March, nearly a decade after Where Stories End. The band hit the road for a world tour upon the record's release. ~ Thom Jurek