It finally happened the Dark Angels got a FAQ update that brings them (more or less) in line with modern codices. Oh happy day! Wait, I mean oh grim dark day! In honor of this grimmest of dark occasions, I have taken a break from the article I was going to write in order to bring you the greatest hits of the Dark Angels. I’m so excited about getting the opportunity to dust off my long-dormant Ravenwing army that I may even wind up running a little long on this post- the fluff behind the DA does leave a lot of room for this type of exercise, after all.
Who are these Dark Angels anyway? Well, they’re the kind of Space Marine chapter that’s so bent on ridding the taint of Chaos from the Imperium that they’d blow up their own home planet to forward that goal. Let’s back up just a little bit, though, shall we. Founded by primarch Lion El’Jonson (sound like a stupid name? Well yeah it is, but maybe this will shed some light on the subject), one of the lost primarchs, this chapter was born on the harsh planet Caliban, some time after Jonson’s rescue at the hands of Luther of The Order. After a time, Jonson rose over Luther in the ranks of the order, a feat which would rankle on Luther for some time. Shortly thereafter, the Emperor arrives on Caliban and bestows upon Jonson the Dark Angels Chapter.
The DA soon fly out to fight in the Shield Worlds, where they are ultimately victorious over Horus’ forces. Upon his return, Jonson finds that his world has been taken over by Luther, under the influence of the gods of Chaos. During the battle to reclaim their planet, it is blown into fragments, one of which is now known as The Rock and serves as home base for the Dark Angels. Ultimately Luther repents on his death bed in a scene that I can only imagine is pulled directly from The Return of the Jedi. Jonson disappears and the rest of the chaos tainted members of the chapter (the Fallen) scatter throughout the galaxy. The remaining members of the DA swear to keep their brothers’ fall a secret for all time and begin a hunt across the galaxy to locate the Fallen and ensure their repentance.
While I could go into the unique organization of the chapter, I think the above tale of betrayal, secrecy, and redemption gives us enough material to work with in our task of finding music to fit the Dark Angels. I’ll be perfectly honest up front and let you know that I feel like the DA are probably about the most goth/metal Space Marine chapter out there, so expect a bit of a bias along those lines.
Esben and the Witch- Marching Song
This song just feels like it could be the introduction to any number of films and the likes, so I’m going to start here. This is a new group, whose first album is due out in February (although they have a 3 track EP available now). This song is ponderous, dark, and brooding. With shades of Sixouxsie Sioux and Grace Slick, the singer delivers her deadpan vocals against an immense wall of noise, perhaps the sounds you would here inside the walls of the Rock. Lyrically, the song is about picking up the pieces and soldiering on. It tells the tale of a fighting force weathering all manner of trials and temptations to fight to stay alive against the odds. I’m not sure what else to add to that other than that it really sounds like the endless task of the Dark Angels hunt across the galaxy to find the Fallen.
Kill Switch…Klick- Decanonized
I feel like I have to apologize for the video quality in this clip, but finding some of these obscure early 90s industrial tracks isn’t particularly easy. The only video for this song I could find appears to have been taken from some kind of public access show, but since they’re clearly lip-syncing, at least the audio track is pretty clear. This song is about the downward descent into sin of Preacher Jimmy Swagart. Think of this as the temptation of Luther and his seduction of the rest of the Fallen while Jonson was away and we’ve got a tale of falling from grace that should sound all too eerily familiar. Plus, it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it. In all seriousness, though, this song has a hard-driving rhythm and a certain darkness to it that I think fit in well with a game of 40k.
Tasty Taste was kind enough to recommend this song to me, and I think it should be pretty obvious why. It’s quite literally about betrayal and back-stabbing. Imagine flying to your home planet only to have laser defense batteries shot at you by your best friend. Sucks to that. If I were in a position to do so, I think the event would inspire me to write some angry thrash like this.
Bauhaus- Dark Entries
One of my all time favorite tracks from the godfathers of goth- Bauhaus. This song is about the betrayal of a lover and the emotional spiral that creates. While I am not implying that Jonson was taking Luther to pound-town, I think a lot of the emotions captured in this song- the despair, the aggression, still apply. There are, after all, many different kinds of love out there, and this should apply just as much to friendship as anything more elicit. I really think that the drollness in Peter Murphy’s voice and Daniel Ash’s absolutely chaotic guitar tones (or even just noises) really help to underscore the turmoil surrounding the fall of Caliban and its subsequent destruction. This bit from one of the verses puts a nice bow on this:
You took delight in taking down
All my shielded pride
Until exposed became my darker side
Gamma Ray- Chasing Shadows
What better way to undertake a hunt across the galaxy than with a mix tape featuring a driving, Germanic melodic power metal epic by Gamma Ray? Comprised of past and current members of both Halloween and Freedom call, this band has been dishing out face melting since the late 80s. This cut is off their 2010 album “To the Metal” and will hopefully put some fuel in your tank as you’re out their hunting the fallen. The song relates the story of an endless hunt after an unknown enemy, much like the DA’s quest to track down the Fallen. There should be just enough double bass gymnastics thrown in there to keep your heart rate up to just about the point of bursting energizing you for your upcoming battle.
Like I said earlier, this army gave me a lot of material to work with. Here are a few of the tracks that Ultimately didn’t make the cut.
Duran Duran- Hungry Like the Wolf they’re on a hunt down after you!
Sven Väth– Pathfinder- Not getting enough electro in your diet? Check out this track from a German great. Probably just a tad too cheesy for my purposes today, though.
Psyclon Nine- Scar of the Deceiver– this is probably a great track for this project and it almost made the main article, but….. I can’t understand the lyrics at all and I have a hard time supporting a band who is more driven by fashion than substance (maybe would be good for Slaanesh). Still though, this fusion of black metal and industrial is kind of catchy.
Jag Panzer- Treachery’s Stain– Is there anything better than a power metal group turning Shakespeare’s Macbeth t into a concept album? Well I’m sure there is, but this song should be proof that it’s pretty close to perfect. Sadly, I can’t find a posting of this song anywhere on the Internet. Enjoy this song from the same album instead.
Ikon-Subversion– This has long been one of my favorite goth hits (see kids, this is what real “goth” music sounds like… it ain’t Marilyn Manson or My Chemical Romance or any of that bullshit). While thematically spot on, I felt like this was a little too subdued for a project based on warfare.
Andrew Lloyd Weber- Heaven on Their Minds -Yes it’s from Jesus Christ Superstar– that musical has a great soundtrack (last decent thing Weber put out), so deal with it. Picture this: Jesus=Jonson; Judas= Luther. Interesting, no?
The Dresden Dolls- Backstabber– This was another recommendation from Tasty Taste, and while I do love the Dresden Dolls, I don’t feel like this song hits quite hard enough for this series. Maybe a little too happy (musically, not thematically) too. Oh and did anybody else hear that Amanda Palmer just married Neil Gaiman? Guess he’s off the market now….