Thick, riddled with smooth overdrive, and tonally resonating with the tube amp-worshiping classic rocker in all of us, there’s no stopping the charisma of the riffage you’re going to hear in the new single “Mr. Darkness” from Vicious Kitty this fall. Rather than hitting us with a barrage of indulgent noise right off the top as a lot of their contemporaries have been in the past couple of years, this Seattle rock syndicate is taking things hot n’ heavy the old school way in “Mr. Darkness,” bringing to mind Van Hagar and Gruntruck in equal measure.


There’s an old-fashioned bombastic punch to the percussion and the melodic elements in this single the same, but I want to note now that there’s nothing recycled about the structure of this song. Where a lot of other acts are trying to make straight-up throwbacks, I don’t think that Vicious Kitty is trying to put us in a time machine here. Their argument is simply that this kind of music never really went out of style – it just hasn’t been played with the kind of passion that it needs to reach an audience spanning oceans around the globe.

Nothing gets in the way of the bassline in this track, and though I wouldn’t normally endorse using as brash a bottom-end to supplement the riff as this, it works for the purposes Vicious Kitty has figured out in “Mr. Darkness.” They know how to utilize indulgence to their advantage, and even if there’s a bit more excess in the construction of this track than you’d find in the typical rock output in 2021, that’s partly what makes this band’s sound so unique and refreshing to come across amid an uptick in overly-surreal, substance-lacking content across the board.

The lead vocal is pretty well layered in the master mix here, but I don’t think it’s overdone in the least. Contrarily, I would have to say that this is one of the more efficient parts of the song, giving us a bit of cutting consistency at the top of the mix where there’s almost nothing but heavy grooving on the bottom. Contrast has been proven to reign supreme in experimental material, and I think it’s playing such an important part in this relatively straightforward track that it would be crazy of Vicious Kitty to leave it off the table in the future.

Rockers of all ages and backgrounds really can’t go wrong with the carnage that Vicious Kitty is serving up in their new single “Mr. Darkness” this fall, and whether you’re diehard into rock or just occasionally like to headbang to whatever sound hot on the radio, this is a track you should check out sooner than later. The hammer of the gods hasn’t dropped this hard in a minute, and though I don’t see rock going totally retro on the mainstream anytime soon, this is a shot of tradition that a lot of players and fans around the genre need to hear right now.

Sebastian Cole