Formed back in 2015, the Aalborg, Denmark-based prog rock act Aztek — Benjamin Vestergaard (vocals), Michael Buchardt (drums), Rasmus Lykke (bass), Minik Lundblad (guitar) and Jeppe Søndergaard (guitar) — can trace their origins to shared interest and love of experimental and prog rock. Since their formation, the Aalborg-based quintet have developed a reputation for an adventurous yet accessible sound, centered around traditional rock instrumentation paired with dreamy synths and Vestergaard’s plaintive vocals, which imbues the material with a distinct melancholy.
Aztek’s full-length debut, 2016’s critically applauded Dream Dealer was a harmonically experimental and ambitious effort that led to the band playing some of the region’s biggest venues and festivals, including Way Up North, Nibe Festival and SPOT Festival. Building upon a growing national and regional profile, the up-and-coming Danish act released their sophomore album Perfect Imbalance last year. Aztek’s latest single, the expansive, Pablo Honey and The Bends-era Radiohead meets space rock-like “Darkest Hour” finds the act ambitiously expanding upon the sound that has won them attention across Denmark and Scandinavia — with fuzzy power chords and rousingly anthemic hooks paired with a heart-on-sleeve earnestness. However, despite its anthemic quality, the song is about observing a loved one’s during a life crisis and the complicated array feelings that come along with it.
Interestingly, the song’s structure, alternating ethereal verses with heavy, power chord-driven hooks also manages to be influenced by the song’s message — that the darkest hour is typically just before dawn; and that most importantly, things do (and can) get better. Set in space, the recently released video by Anders Riber Nielsen features 80s influenced CGI: the viewer first moves among a large constellation of stars, before passing through a terrestrial-like planet with mountains. It’s trippy and expansive yet centered around scientific reality.