Review Summary: with this release Darkest Hour have proven that metalcore can be catchy, technical and emotional at the same time.
Darkest Hour is one of the bands that never managed to make it into the "mainstream" despite being extremely influential and somewhat easily accessible (I mean compared to the likes of Converge and Botch). What some modern metal/metalcore acts, such as BMTH and Asking Alexandria achieved with 2 or 3 albums, Darkest Hour couldn't in more than ten years. It's quite unfair but let's talk about the actual music instead of how unfair the music industry is.
The first song starts with a killer riff (as excepted from such a skilled metal band). John Henry's vocal performance is flawless, you know there are many metal singer who lose their ability to do proper screams after the first few albums, John Henry is not one of these guys, as you can hear it on this album. The drum performance is also very good, there are some killer double bass here. So the instrumentation is pretty solid, and they even wrote a catchy chorus.
You might think that the quality will drop as the album goes, but no, it wont. Every song is pretty well written. The riffs are as heavy as it can get. The choruses are memorable and there are great guitar solos too. For example in the song "Infinite Eyes" there's a twin solo that flows into the final chorus, it sounds pretty good, reminds me of Ronnie Radke era Escape The Fate.
So the whole album has a pretty solid instrumentation but the reason why this collection of well-written songs works so well is John Henry. Whether he screams or sings he does an awesome job, not to mention his lyrics are very sincere.
The only aspect in which the album isn't top notch is the dynamics / complexity. Sometimes the song structures are too predictable and there are some cheesy tempo / rhythm changes but well, this isn't a The Mars Volta, a Botch or a Tool album where dynamics is one of the main strengths of the music. I like like Darkest Hour for the killer instrumentals and the awesome vocal performance, not the dynamics, and with this release they've proven that metalcore can be catchy, technical and emotional at the same time. Nice Job!