Tonka - This Present Darkness (Metal Age Prod.) 1999/2003
1. "Secondary World:
The Final Solution" (3:52)
Originally recorded in 1999, "This Present Darkness" was apparently given a properly released in 2003 by Metal Age Productions. Tonka are a Norwegian band that combines elements of thrash metal with some gothic undertones and progressive songwriting. Perhaps an odd combination, but one that works for them. The vocalist is a large part of that success as he mixes aggressive, gritty thrash vocals with clean, haunting gothic-like vox. Personally I prefer the more aggressive style. However, it is this vocal variation that gives the band their gothic overtones, when the music is technical thrash metal for the most part. This is especially true of the first two tracks. "My Last Abduction" slows things down a bit and is more of a mid-paced progressive metal number that mixes together some beautiful melancholy moments with heavier moments. "The Murder" brings the intensity level back up but contains plenty of variation in tempo and emotion. The entire album continues in like manner; progressive songwriting, heavy guitar tones, melancholy moments, haunting vocals, tasty guitar solos, etc. At times Tonka reminded me of Biogenesis, an American underground band with a similar mix of vocals styles and heavy music. I can't exactly figure this band out lyrically. Their lyrics could easily be interpreted in a number of different ways but all seem to be of a spiritual nature touching on Christian themes. I think that English is probably not the band's first language, so there are some difficulties in translation that add to the confusion in the lyrical direction. Overall, I see a lot of potential in Tonka and look forward to hearing their next CD. For a debut CD by an independent band, "This Present Darkness" fairs well.
Yngve, the drummer of Tonka, is one of Norway's most eager spokespersons for the underground heavy metal scene. He does his own print metal zine, is one of the driving forces behind www.heavymetal.no , and plays in a couple other bands besides Tonka.