Dark Horse’s new record Bomb Thrower sounds better than a car

By Luke Buckler
Unbelievably Bad Contributor

Photo by Natsumi Okano

Photo by Natsumi Okano

Dark Horse create urgent, frantic punk in its rawest form. The band have set the benchmark for Sydney D-beat over the past six years, and despite not being as young, spritely, or attractive as they perhaps once were, their commitment to the band (and their guitarist’s commitment to double pluggers) is unquestionable.

Their second full-length, Bomb Thrower, is available now on cassette and compact disc, with the LP coming soon. And if the track we’ve heard is anything to go by, it’s going to rip. They ventured to Melbourne on the weekend to play Filthfest, and they’ll be pushing this new record about the place in the coming months, rounded out with a trip to Japan later on in the year.

UB had a chat with Dennis (vocals), Kieren (bass), and Romano (guitar) about sonic horsepower, the best punks, and chucking in your bucket habit to make the world a better place for the kids.


Tell us about the new record – who helped on it and how’s it sounding?
Dennis: The album was recorded and mixed last October by Jason Fuller at Goatsound in Melbourne, who also mixed the whole thing. Jack from Enormous Door in United States did the mastering for us. Both Jason and Jack did a great job, we’re quite happy with the way it all turned out. How is it sounding? Compared to the last one, Bomb Thrower sounds a lot more like we actually sound in a live environment. Heavy and gnarly but with lots of horsepower. If you compared the record to a car I’d say it sounds better.


Where does the artwork come from?
Dennis: The artwork was done by Alejandro D’Marco, a fellow from Argentina whom we found online. He does lots of cool design stuff, you should check out his webstore and buy shit.

Are there any stylistic surprises on Bomb Thrower?
Dennis: Our style hasn’t changed that dramatically compared to the last album (Sick of the Living, High on Death, 2014), even though Romano switched to guitar and Kieren took over bass duties. It’s a mishmash of D-beat, punk and grind. As far as stylistic surprises go, there is an unprecedented amount of guitar leads on this one.

Photo by Natsumi Okano

Photo by Natsumi Okano

What does the band have coming up? Are you going to give this record a decent push?
Dennis: We are planning to promote the record quite a bit. In the first half of the year, there are some festival appearances scheduled (FilthFest in Melbourne, Total Attack in Brissy, Distort Byron in Byron Bay), then we’ll have a record-release show at Black Wire at end of March together with Hostile Objects and Michael Crafter. There are a few places that we really want to go to like Perth, Adelaide or Tasmania, so hopefully some of these will happen this year. Oh, and in November we’re going back to Japan for a 10-day-tour. Also we have a leftover song from our recording session which will be released sometime this year on an Antifa Benefit compilation on Global Resistance Records in the UK.

Photo by Natsumi Okano

Photo by Natsumi Okano

How healthy do you think Sydney’s punk scene is?
Kieren: Sydney punk scene is stupidly good right now. So many fucking amazing bands and good people. The last few shows I have been to have been great, vibrant displays of punk unity in a way that reminded me of the early 90s. Just so fucking good.

You’re a well-travelled band, on an individual and collective scale. Where in the world has the craziest punk shows?
Kieren: Japan. Has to be Japan. I have seen much craziness around the world, some of which was bordering on the terrifying but nowhere else have I seen nutters quite like Japan. That’s why we’re going back.
Romano: You can’t go past the show we didn’t end up playing at the Chippendale Pub cause one of our mates let off a fucking fire extinguisher half way through the second band, ending the show right there and then. That was a doosey! But I would have to say Kurawood in Japan was a pretty memorable show for us all. Japanese punks are pretty way out there.

Photo by Natsumi Okano

Photo by Natsumi Okano

How has fatherhood altered your approach to being in a band?
Kieren: It focuses you. You don’t have as much time so you use it better. No sitting round smoking bucket bongs all morning. Get up and use all the time you have to make fucking cool shit happen. Also, it puts some emphasis into the words you’ve been shouting for years. It was one thing to scream “no fucking future” at age 18 when it didn’t matter. With kids you find yourself stopping and going: ‘Well, fuck! If there’s no fucking future what the fuck am I doing? I need to actually work to make the world into the place I want my kid to grow up in.’ And it stops ya being lazy. A couple of weekends ago, I played a show and me and my oldest kid were up the front slamming around to Odio and Morte Lenta and it was the fucking raddest thing ever. Out of control body destroying dancing with ya offspring. He also got up and sang back-ups with us once – we did a cover of “State Oppression” by Raw Power. That was fucking mad. Apparently having kids slows you down but I haven’t really noticed.

Do you ever get your kids to sit on your back while you crawl around the living room being a ‘Dad Horse’?
Kieren: Pretty much constantly. Humiliation comes easy.


Listen to the first track from Bomb Thrower, “To Hell With It”, here:

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