Review

Starks Daemon launches solo career with dynamic EP Unchain

With a career spanning more than two decades, Wurst’s Starks Daemon stands as one of the pioneers in the diversification of the African metal scene. And now the Botswana native is back with a solo venture, in the form of an EP called Unchain. 

Starks explains, “The idea behind the EP was to introduce Starks Daemon to the world whilst we are busy with the full length album. We are trying as much as we can to create an online presence on social media such that when the complete record comes out, there will be a bigger audience to play and tour for.”

Influenced by legendary rock and metal bands like Metallica, AC/DC, Machine Head and Korn, Unchain offers a fresh perspective that Starks hopes will make a lasting impression. “I am hoping that listeners will unchain their minds and try to see things differently, but most importantly bang their heads to the unchained groove,” he says.

The two-track EP showcases a slight departure from Wurst’s sound. Reflecting on the creative process, Starks notes, “I wanted to write simple songs. I wanted easy-to-follow song structures yet also heavy. The beautiful thing is how fun it was, especially the song arrangements and how easy it was to come up with lyrics. I also felt I wanted to be more direct about what I had to say.”

The titular track “Unchain” delves into the power of the mind. Inspired by the tumultuous events of the pandemic, Starks explains, “There were a lot of uncertainties and fear. I was suddenly driven by my desire to change and started reading a lot on how to positively change oneself. I slowly began to realise that everything begins and ends with the mind.”

The closing track, “Too Deep,” delves into the challenges of self-acceptance, as the reflective words “should I dance with my eyes closed to ease this pain” carry Starks’ raw and gruff vocal delivery.

All in all, an impressive and impactful introduction to an exciting solo venture. With more releases on the horizon, this veteran musician is sure to expand his fan base.