The Darkness – Black Shuck

Permission to Land
Year :
Def Leppard / Queen / 3 Inches of Blood

At recent dinner with friends, The Darkness came up somewhat randomly in conversation. “They had another album… what’s the name of the second album?” “One Way Ticket to Hell and Back.” I replied. However, the real answer is “It doesn’t matter.”

2003′s Permission to Land is one of the small handful of albums to emerge in the 2000s that qualifies as a true instant classic (The Unicorn’s Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? is the other that immediately comes to mind for me). Known for a their full-on commitment to the golden days of glam metal, The Darkness’ “I Believe In a Thing Called Love” managed to cement itself as a bona fide hit largely due to its complete lack of irony. Yes, this is a man in a cat suit. Yes, he sings in a manic falsetto. Yes, this is R-rated music. I didn’t live through glam metal’s heyday (nor would I want to) but listening to Permission to Land, I got it for the first time.

Though the band continues to fight the good fight, Permission to Land is actually such a perfect encapsulation of the band’s core idea that it needs no follow-up. From front to back, it is stacked with every flavor that the genre can support. It’s the kind of album that anyone who’s got more than a passing awareness of can pick out a different favorite song.

There are a few contenders for me. The album’s opener, “Black Shuck,” is certainly one of them. As an opener, in particular, it’s a brilliant move. Thinking for a moment about what the album sets out to accomplish and who it needed to bring into the fold (i.e., the legions of metal fans who thought they’d never hear new music like this) it’s hard to do better than “Black Shuck.” The song is quite light on the glam and heavy on the metal. It simply sets out to rock (and does).

And the subject matter is perfect:

“Hey guys, what’s the meaning of ‘Black Shuck?’ What’s this song about?”

“It’s about a giant black ghost dog that haunts the graveyards of Great Britain.”

“Oh, that’s pretty metal. What about the dog? What does he do?”

“He don’t give a fuck.”

Really, what more do you need from a metal song?

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(@YahSureMan) is the Founder of The Daily Soundtrack and Bark Attack Media. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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