IMAGIKA – Only Dark Hearts Survive

IMAGIKA - Only Dark Hearts Survive
  • 6.5/10
    IMAGIKA - Only Dark Hearts Survive - 6.5/10


Dissonance Productions
Release date: September 13, 2019

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Only Dark Hearts Survive is the eighth studio release from California based Thrash Metal band Imagika. The band has reformed after an almost 10-year hiatus, with the lineup including guitarist Steven D. Rice (Kill Ritual, Imagika), vocalist Norman Skinner (Skinner, Niviane, Hellscream, Imagika), bassist Jim Pegram (Mudface, Angerhead, Imagika) and guest drummer Matt Thompson (King Diamond). Only Dark Hearts Survive also features the mixing and mastering talents of King Diamond Andy LaRocque. At first listen, one can’t help but wonder if the record was made over time, or in different locations.

Some tracks definitely seem to have much more clarity and punch than others, and the first three tracks have more raw, almost harsh sound in comparison with the last 5. That said, Only Dark Hearts Survive is a decent Thrash Metal record. Skinner’s vocals will immediately call to mind early Avenged Sevenfold. The drums and bass are lockstep and balls to the wall driving. The guitar is the weakest point on Only Dark Hearts Survive. They are just a bit too overdriven, causing them to lose clarity, especially on rhythm parts that are very choppy. The leads are a bit wanky, and miss the tonal center occasionally, possibly in the belief that the sheer speed will compensate. Alas, it does not.

“The Faceless Rise” is one of the better tracks, allowing a little more space, while still being Thrash Metal. But even that one with its relentless tremolo-picked solo just doesn’t let anything breathe. Fans of Imagika, King Diamond, and Thrash Metal should give it a listen.



  • Stevie Shred

    Stevie was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He is currently the lead guitarist for Melodic Rock band Red Reign, based in Richmond, Virginia, USA. Red Reign toured with Tesla in 2017, and shared the stage with Dokken, FireHouse, Lita Ford, Kix, Quiet Riot, and others at various dates around the US in 2018. Stevie heard his first KISS record at the age of 6 and was immediately hooked on Rock and Roll guitar. Over the course of years his tastes evolved, graduating from KISS to Ozzy and Van Halen; and then into Hair Metal. Over time, harder and faster music drew him. Bands like Metallica, Pantera, and Anthrax led the way, and Killswitch Engage took him over the top. Stevie has a deep passion for the guitar, not only playing them, but building them as well.

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