Darkest Hour
The Human Romance


3.0
good

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
February 19th, 2011 | 207 replies | 36,255 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Darkest Hour make the best album that they can make without Kris Norris.

So you’re halfway into this new Darkest Hour album so far, right? The Human Romance is going strong. It’s got most of what you want from a Darkest Hour album, minus a certain guitarist - that kick-ass vocalist in John Henry, glasses-wearing-nerd-turned-impassioned-vocal-thrasher, and the hell-raiser drummer in Ryan Parrish, who knows how to almost singlehandedly propel Henry through each chorus just on the strength of his playing style. Yeah, you punched your neighbor to the choruses of “Savor The Kill” and later on raised your hands to the anthems of "Wound'; and then you grabbed a bat and broke shit around your house to the thrash attack of “Man and Swine”. Okay, yeah, sure, the album’s good so far, cool. Then you hit fifth track “Love as a Weapon”.

You stop your media player to think: You know, this song is awesome, especially that riff that comes in about thirty-five seconds in but – but, hold on here. This reminds you of something that you’ve heard before. You flip through your library of music files, various downloads you haven’t listened to just yet, or even unzipped, and you come to Darkest Hour’s career peak thus far: 2007’s Deliver Us. You browse through the album’s highlights, compare them with those of The Human Romance, and you conclude:

You know, Darkest sound worse now than they did back then a few years ago.

It’s a fact: without guitarist Kris Norris, Darkest Hour are just not as, well, kick-ass when it comes to crafting their songs anymore. But hold on now - this actually works in The Human Romance’s favor, sort of. Once you come to terms with the fact that the days of popping out “Doomsayer” or “A Paradox With Flies” are over for the band, then you get to appreciate this year’s album for what it is: a step in the right direction. You see, in 2009 Darkest Hour stated that the band was having a tough time together, and that year’s effort, The Eternal Return, definitely showed it. The album just didn’t feel like a Darkest Hour album – there was no theme, okay, the fucking thing just didn’t flow as one cohesive whole.

The difference here, then, and the main reason why The Human Romance is likely to be well-received by fans, is that this album actually does flow well. The melodic death metal songs on The Human Romance may not be as up to par to the band’s pre-2009 work, but the whole thing is pretty damn consistent, with each song offering the listener its own varying, if small, nuances to pick out and remember.

On first single and third track “Savor The Kill”, the band pays homage to early Soilwork with an In Flames-like something special in the chorus before launching off into a fast-pace thrasher in “Man & Swine”. The track stays at breakneck speeds before closing with some, as odd as it may be to say it, beautiful concluding vocal harmonies. Little touches like this give the album’s individual tracks some character, say the impassioned clean-sung concluding section of “Violent by Nature” or the golden melody of “Wound”, which was lacking on many of the songs on The Eternal Return.

Darkest Hour even try their hand at another instrumental epic in “Terra Solaris”, something the band hasn’t tried to do since Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation’s “Veritas, Aequitas”. Their attempt is admirable, if unexceptional, but you have to appreciate The Human Romance’s tracklisting as it offers album highlight “Beyond the Life You Know” to close the album off, instead of the plodding of the former. The closer is a song meant for all the fans of the band, a culmination of what makes Darkest Hour such a good band to begin with - ripping guitar riffs, a belter of a chorus - and brings to mind their mid-2000s' more melodic work.

It's safe to say that Darkest Hour are not as good as they used to be - sorry, fans, but The Eternal Return and The Human Romance are both indicators of that. But the band have certainly got their bearings back this year and have made the best album that they possibly could have without Kris Norris. In context of Deliver Us, The Human Romance is disapointing, no doubt, but that's really just something we're going to have to get used to when it comes to this band's output from now on, it seems. Unless something radically changes, the only thing that Darkest Hour can now make are mere shadows of their best past work, and every highlight on The Human Romance just brings to mind even better songs that the band have already put to record. You can keep hoping for a full return to form one day, I know I will, but at the same time I doubt we'll ever hear it again. The best days of this band have already come and gone.



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user ratings (280)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
AgainstTheStream (3.5)
Essentially a cross between the brutality of The Eternal Return and the more melodic side of Deliver...

shredAway (4)
The Human Romance is highly succsesful and monumentally enjoyable--now maybe Darkest Hour can get th...


Comments:Add a Comment 
cvlts
February 19th 2011



8917 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

agreed with the rating but not so much the reasoning behind it.

Digging: Pedro the Lion - It's Hard To Find A Friend

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2011



17914 Comments


there was an instrumental on deliver us

omgraptors
February 19th 2011



804 Comments


they will never beat Deliver Us and one of the reasons is because it had a pretty expensive production for a metalcore album.

CladInShadows971
February 19th 2011



13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eh I guess I'm like the only person in the world who isn't quite sold on Townsend's producing. I much prefer the guitar tone Wichers got on this album. As for the music though, it's pretty much on par with Deliver Us. Maybe a bit below. It is missing some of the lead guitar the last two albums had.

Personally I prefer The Eternal Return to them both however. Darkest Hour are at their best when their being heavy, fast and angry. I don't see why John Henry felt the need to jump on the 'melodic chorus vocals' bandwagon with both this and Deliver Us. He does it well, but so do others. On the other hand, he's untouchable when it comes to screaming furiously about religion and politics.

XplaugeX
February 19th 2011



185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, and I agree with what you said about them being past their prime, though that really bums me out. Everyone but John that is, I swear that guy gets more impressive every record. The way he controls his vocals on this one is pretty epic.

DurzoBlint
February 19th 2011



1131 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I agree. Doubt much(if any) of this album will make the cut to my Iphone.

Departures
February 19th 2011



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This is more of a re-cap of your day than a review, however I agree with the rating.

HenchmanOfSanta
February 19th 2011



1656 Comments


Review is dumb for implying that Darkest Hour were ever worth anything in the first place.

ConsiderPhlebas
February 19th 2011



6157 Comments


Great band. Kinda tuned out after Sadist Nation, though. Might check this out.

BallsToTheWall
February 19th 2011



44164 Comments


Undoing rUIN>>>>>>>>>>>Deliver us. Good review, you however are still hung up over Norris like a disheartened ex girlfriend. A key piece but not the band. Who's Mike S?

atavisticguilt
February 19th 2011



138 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I get that Kris was a much better more well rounded guitarist, but I mean hes been gone for 2 albums and im sure we can all agree this was better than the Eternal Return... so at least hes improving, I guess I just enjoyed the album more for some reason.

Darkvoid67
February 19th 2011



383 Comments


This band is VERY dull. Review was good as per usual

bloc
February 19th 2011



34499 Comments


Pretty average band, although the lead work is delicious sometimes.

Digging: He Is Legend - I Am Hollywood

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2011



16000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Only listened to half of this but from what I heard I'd say I agree completely.

Digging: Katatonia - Kocytean

Departures
February 19th 2011



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

the second half of the album is better than the first half, it doesn't use circular logic and re-affirm itself

Kris.
February 19th 2011



11374 Comments


buncha communists up in here darkest hour rules fags

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2011



16000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Looks like I'm gonna have to go listen to the second half now then.

hotshotvegetarian
February 19th 2011



129 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So uh... did anyone else thing Undoing Ruin was better than Deliver Us?

/ducks

Departures
February 19th 2011



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

better question, did anyone else notice that the songs Death Worship, Tranquil, and Deliver Us all sound the same?

IRAI
February 19th 2011



1567 Comments


undoing ruin was better than deliver us, calm down.



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