Darkest Hour
Darkest Hour


3.0
good

Review

by Mark A. USER (51 Reviews)
July 31st, 2014 | 133 replies


Release Date: 08/05/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Darkest Hour's self-titled is a mostly forgettable affair with some incredible highlights, proving the band still has the potential to bounce back.

After seven full-length albums of top-tier thrashy, melodic death metal, Darkest Hour is certainly a divisive listen. For people familiar with their past works, this release is a shock to the system. Blistering solos, propulsive drums, and vocalist John Henry's trademark larynx-shredding screams are all still present, only in a much different manner. Henry blends in quite a large amount of clean vocals, and some of the songs have been toned down exponentially in terms of aggression, almost sounding like the watered-down alternative rock that dominates the mainstream. What's worse is that the chugging passages that dominate the metalcore of today have also made a noticeable appearance as well, making for an almost irrational hodgepodge of influences rearing their collective ugly head on this album.

That isn't to say that Darkest Hour have completely lost their way, however; the strong lyricism and innate songwriting capability are very much still present on Darkest Hour. This is likely going to be the most perplexing issue for listeners; some of the experimentation is incredibly successful. "Wasteland" boasts a groove metal sound not unlike Pantera, complete with some audible bass (a first for Darkest Hour) and an incredible guitar solo. New drummer Travis Orbin makes his presence known from the beginning and impresses throughout the entirety of the record, most notably on "Rapture in Exile" with lightning-fast fills and speedy double bass. Henry sounds like a man possessed on the first two tracks, and while the sound is still vastly different that what we have heard from the band in the past, it is still a very enjoyable deviation from the status quo for Darkest Hour. It's when the first verse of "The Misery We Make" hits that a recurring problem begins to become much clearer. The song has a neutered sound to it both instrumentally and vocally, resulting in a lack of something that the band generally has in abundance: passion. "Futurist" sounds like a completely different band in the beginning, utilizing a much more mainstream metal approach that devolves into the identity crisis that Darkest Hour seem to be in currently.

The irony is that the band continues to fire on all cylinders on some songs, proving that the foray into experimenting with a more modern metalcore sound is causing the majority of the issues here. "Hypatia Rising" is not only the best song on the album, but the best song that Darkest Hour has released in years. The deliberate pacing of the track mixes perfectly with the epic sound present, and proves that the band still has it in them to be innovative. The biggest issue is that for every song that has promise, there are three that sound bland and uninspired, with the clean vocals of "Departure" being the best example of this. The band has simply lost their way on Darkest Hour, and instead of forging on in the melodeath direction that all previous outings have been rooted in, they have explored every ill-advised nook and cranny in extreme metal on the album. It has frustratingly led this long-time fan through a sometimes enjoyable but mostly underwhelming and head-scratching experience. Given the band's track record of overcoming obstacles, it is to be expected that this is merely just Darkest Hour fine-tuning a formula that will be expounded upon in the next release. As it stands, Darkest Hour is a mostly forgettable affair with some incredible highlights, proving the band still has the potential to bounce back.



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user ratings (95)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
wwba (4.5)
with this release Darkest Hour have proven that metalcore can be catchy, technical and emotional at ...

Chris Maitland (4)
For better or worse, Darkest Hour goes the more traditional metalcore route on their eight LP....

Durrzo (3)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
thelastsignal
July 30th 2014


1370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Originally posted here: http://thesonicsensory.com/2014/07/31/darkest-hour-darkest-hour/

One of my favorite bands, this release leaves a ton to be desired though.

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2014


5816 Comments


8 kickass reviews in one months? Jesus christ dude, are you going for some kind of world record? Great review as always, not sure I can come up with any criticism for it. Thought you did a great job supporting your rating here, which is definitely an improvement from your past reviews. Hard pos, I think you are officially the reviewer of the month or something.

As for this band, I've listened to them before but haven't been too impressed with what I've heard. Will probably give this one a skip.

Digging: Moonsorrow - V: Havitetty

XingKing
July 30th 2014


10591 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Two three reviews? BLASPHEMY!

ScuroFantasma
July 30th 2014


1825 Comments


Reviewer of the month [2]. Another great review sig, pos'd

Digging: Eluveitie - Origins

XingKing
July 30th 2014


10591 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

This is a good review though, so pos'd of course!

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2014


50380 Comments


will not bother listening to this

Digging: Viper the Rapper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack

thelastsignal
July 30th 2014


1370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha thanks Judio and Scuro, appreciate the love. I was just excited that my writer's block went away early this month haha. Thanks Xing!

@treb, this release is nowhere near any of their other stuff, so you'd probably be really disappointed.

Progger6009
July 31st 2014


1099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If I were to post a 4 review for this, I would be laughed off the site wouldn't I.

Futures
July 31st 2014


10731 Comments


yes

Digging: Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
July 31st 2014


19756 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Pretty much what Judio said haha. Another nice write-up man!

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

TheCakeIsALie
July 31st 2014


36 Comments


Pos'd. Awesome stuff. I haven't sat down to Darkest Hour in a long time.

thelastsignal
July 31st 2014


1370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks guys! Progger, I'd be interested to hear your take on this man.

0GuyMan0
July 31st 2014


69 Comments


John Henry has to be one of my favorite vocalists. I love his screams, gruff singing but not a huge fan of the cleans here.

Gameofmetal
July 31st 2014


1161 Comments


Good review. Idk about this album. I liked one single but the other was iffy. I'll check this out.

thelastsignal
July 31st 2014


1370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agree with you there, guyman. His screams are so monstrous on here.

Thanks, game! It's pretty much a guarantee that you won't like all of what's here, especially if you like their previous stuff. Still, there's some great songs on here as well.

Gameofmetal
July 31st 2014


1161 Comments


No prob. I'm not a die hard fan so if a lot of this is bad, I won't be too hurt by it.

thelastsignal
July 31st 2014


1370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They are one of my favorites, so this was a tough listen for me. Especially the first time around, I was floored and not in a good way haha.

ExplosiveOranges
July 31st 2014


2661 Comments


How the FUCK did I miss this? Dude, if they don't make you a contrib in February, we're gonna have a problem.

Digging: Leon Vynehall - Music For The Uninvited

thelastsignal
July 31st 2014


1370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha thanks man! I appreciate the vote of confidence. Imo, there are a ton of great writers that should be contributors.

ExplosiveOranges
July 31st 2014


2661 Comments


Well, Judio and Arcade got ghost promoted recently, so there is some justice in the world. Or at least on this site.



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