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The Robba - Album Review: In The Dark

29 Mar 2023 // A review by Hannah Jane

In The Dark is the new heavy rock album by New Zealand one man band The Robba, filled with hard-hitting tracks all painstakingly created by himself. Layers of guitar, vocals, synths and beats form a strong foundation for the social narrative woven into this baker’s dozen of lyrical laments.

Based in Gisborne, The Robba plays with hip-hop, rock, metal and electronic sounds, and sings more on this album than I have heard before, which is great to hear. He has his own vibe that at times reminds me of Marilyn Manson and other times Korn. Heavily melancholic lyrics are delivered with despair and anger which often feels downright menacing. I like that.

I have a stack of ‘ugly music for dark nights’ I play when I need to clean my house at full energy with an edge; In The Dark has been playing on repeat for the past two weeks since it was released, and has earned its place as an album I will reach for when searching for that metaphorical shot in the arm.

For the record, In The Dark is not ugly – this music has been crafted beautifully. But it’s not for the fainthearted as it has the rage I’m looking for; replete with savage death growls and heavy guitar screams.

Stand out tracks for me include Word Out which paints a bleak canvas on a dark musical backdrop, contrasted by a wee sardonic refrain ‘…that’d be fantastic!’ accompanied by a humorous Seinfeld-esque bassline which has wormed its way into my ear. Somehow that bass throws in a little humour all the way through the album for me. Maybe it’s there to take the edge off. Perhaps it sets it off, who knows.

All You Do Is Lose is emo as hell and so good. Taking You With Me is threatening in tone and speaks to a substantial subset of society. Foreboding finger on the pulse stuff.

End Well spells this out too. It may not be love and light, but The Robba is speaking his truth.

Genius work like this tucked away in a man-cave somewhere in middle earth gives me hope for humanity. I also think it’s criminal not to be heard!

Any song from The Robba could be used on any episode of ‘Stranger Things’ or ‘Wednesday’ and blow up beyond imagination, and I hope one day that happens for him. Enter the zeitgeist.

Need A Reminder, Lights Out, In The Dark and We Fell are all particularly great songs with melodies and words that have stuck with me. They remind me of real and gritty music of yesteryear with shades of Tool, Smashing Pumpkins and Linkin Park - with viciously acerbic lyrics like "…you’ll find me in the motherfucking dark", "…nothing is as good as they said it would be to me" and "need a way to escape".

The final two minutes of the closing track The Revenge is a dystopian instrumental dedicated to something sinister in the future. It makes me want to listen to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Dead Man’s Blues on repeat.

And then back to The Robba…

Gun to the head, if I had to pick a favourite to play for fresh ears it would be album title In The Dark - a banger of a track, or Taking You with Me, or…

These are not 3-minute easy-listening radio tunes - they are Rage Against The Machine style writings that are pouring out of a highly observant individual. Besides a prolific body of music, he has also created 50 music videos on YouTube for your viewing pleasure!

The Robba has something to say and it’s worth listening to.

Go do yourself a favour and find this album wherever you listen to music – like, listen and follow.

"…that’d be fantastic!"

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About The Robba

I am a solo artist who makes rock and hiphop music. Some songs are more rock and some are more hiphop, other times a mix of both!

I have independently released two albums and before them two EPs. One EP was with Jonny and The Robba after we won the Coke Launchpad in 2004. The next EP was as a solo artist, I promoted it with an NZ tour.

Then I released an album which had a number 1 and a number 2 song on the kiwi fm charts as well as other songs playlisted on radio stations around the country. C4 tvs homegrown show played 4 of my music videos from the album.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Robba


In The Dark
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Stay Up
Year: 2022
Type: EP
Night Has Just Begun
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Unheard Of
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Rob Arthur
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Awesome Songs
Year: 2015
Type: Album
How It Go
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Free Dome
Year: 2010
Type: Album
The Robba
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Any Fear
Year: 2006
Type: Album

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