Darko – This is ‘Bonsai Mammoth’.

Darko – Guilford, England, United Kingdom.


Musically Fresh receives requests from a variety of bands and artists on a global scale and thats fantastic. We try our utmost to get through all these emails and messages outside of our day jobs as there really is a plethora of talent out there that needs it’s justice done.

However, sometimes we take a little time-out to write something that we have ourselves found outside of our humble venture. Enter Darko and their latest release and debut full-length, Bonsai Mammoth.

With Punk-Rock and its diversities being a staple and arguably foundation of MF content these past three years, this review was inevitable. I’m not going to falsely profess to being a die-hard Darko fan, I’d seen the band on various compilations over the years and liked what I heard but it wasn’t until the weeks leading up to the release of this condensed Mammoth of a Punk album that it really clicked.

If the likes of No Trigger, After The Fall, The Human Project, recent features Kill The President!, Strung Out and A Wilhelm Scream mean anything to you, you’d best strap in…


Darko waste no time with ‘Life Forms’. Musically speaking it follows their trademark furious Melodic Hardcore that is both jagged and cutting but also layered with so many hooks that it lives up to the promise the band made in the weeks leading up this record; that it would boast their biggest chorus’ to date.

‘Life Forms’ rages despite these huge melodies. It rages against and continues the age old battle between Punk and complacency. Sometimes, you just can’t help but shout ‘I don’t fucking care‘ in true catharsis.

‘Just A Short Line’ is a personal battle of the mind, while musically much like the next in-line it takes cues from the masters of tech-Punk, A Wilhelm Scream, in tracks both akin to their most melodic but also their most precision aggression.

‘This Is Love’ sits at four of eleven and if by this point the band’s tenacity hadn’t really sunk home, it has now. The tempo of Darko is relentlessly driven and in tracks such as ‘This Is Love’ where the band’s complex layered sound simplifies, albeit only slightly, you are accosted by rhythms and riffage as jagged as the cutting lyrics.

As you sit and listen to this album I recommend sitting with the lyrics nearby, as it is that way that you really understand the cathartic charge of the music and why no other backing would be feasible or quite frankly allow it to hit home with such precision.

With ‘The Chernobyl Effect’ you are rested and provided with reprieve before the band’s best greets you in ‘Hiraeth’. A track that in quite unprofessional terms, carries so much in the way of melodic technical-Punk riffs that it’s quite bluntly pornographic in all its air-guitar glory. ‘Hiraeth’ is perhaps the most anthemic on the release and an shining example of band giving it their absolute best through layers and layers of stellar musicianship.

The best thing about this album is how exhausting it is. It’s nothing short of a tempo-thrill ride that bar the short refrain of ‘The Chernobyl Effect’ seems endless. The power-house that is drummer Andy Borg drives on and on and on and you have absolutely no choice but to keep pace. It is exhausting but giving up isn’t very Punk-Rock now is it?

‘The Company Of Wolves’ is another defiant anthem against the subjugation that isn’t as obvious as we may think while we live in the company of wolves that despite their ferocity, will die first.  This is explored and challenged further in ‘Lifeblood’ where the riffage is harder, heavier and more abrasive in the same manner as what has been first written and then screamed into your ears.

We fool ourselves we’re really free
We fool ourselves into thinking we’re not slaves. YOU’RE A SLAVE’

Darko are a band that I am finding difficult to dissect, especially in regard to the stylistic of Bonsai Mammoth. I have mentioned the band’s layered sound number of times as it really does create such a sonic cohesion that trying to focus on just one aspect is indeed very difficult. Now who said Punk required no skill? *cough* Bruce Dickinson *cough* wrong *cough*.

‘Dead Hordes’ is the penultimate and boasts another infections slice of anthemic up-beat Punk-Rock but not without points that contrast so well that you really can’t help but set yourself to thinking.

For me, Bonsai Mammoth takes a more musically proficient and skilled facet of Punk music and moulds it into something quite ironically melodic and easy listening. It captures the rage and desire to be loud and abrasive from the genres inception but doesn’t do so for the sake of it, rather pairs it with genuine inspiration that comes across so purely from tortured minds that can’t help but criticise everything wrong around them.

…or something like that.

Find Darko and the politically aware and cantankerous micro-Mammoth below:



Matthew Speer

Matt has 2.1 BA in History and is most likely somewhere in his twenties. He enjoys a wide range of music, but has a strong penchant for Punk-Rock. Originally he hails from the Isle Of Wight off the South Coast of England, UK and spends most of his time around England's South-West.

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