Darkest Hour defy their age to crank out high energy jams.
Although I wouldn’t describe myself as a die-hard Darkest Hour fan, I was certainly in tune with the fan base enough to know that their previous album (2014’s Darkest Hour) didn’t go down as well as hoped. By streamlining their once raucous brand of melodic death metal, fans found it harder to connect with a record that had less of what they fell in love with in the first place. Thankfully, on their latest effort Godless Prophets And The Migrant Flora the band opted to team up with producer-extraordinaire Kurt Ballou (of Converge) to inject some much-needed savagery.
Storming out the gates with “Knife In The Safe Room” its abundantly clear that the band have done away with the pristine production job from last time, as the guitars sound raw, rough and flippin’ monstrous. It’s a kick in the teeth that showcases the thick distorted punk sounds that Ballou has made a name for, and Darkest Hour are relishing the change. The record is absolutely crammed with vibrant riffs, whether it’s the sludgy stop-start of “Timeless Numbers” or the breakneck thrash rampage of “Those Who Survived”, guitarists Mike Schleibaum and Mike ‘Lonestar’ Carrigan have upped the ante with their riffs and leads. Whilst hard-hitting riffage is in abundance, I would personally have loved to have seen a little more of soaring lead work that the band did amazingly well on The Eternal Return, just to add a little more colour to proceedings.
The rest of the band are no slouches either, as the rhythm section of Travis Orbin and Aaron Deal pummel and punish with fervour, lending a heft to the higher register attack of the guitarists. The interplay between the two, especially in the opening few moments of “Enter Oblivion” showcase these two as musicians who aren’t content to hide behind the guitars. Vocalist John Henry is in fine form, as his vocals have never sounded so scathing and coarse- each throaty roar is ready to strip flesh and bone from the listener. The newfound vitality from each musician is matched by the strength of the songs, as there is plenty of potent metal anthems to rage along to (“Another Headless Ruler Of The Used” and “Those Who Survived” being particularly lethal), which culminates in album closer “Beneath It Sleeps”. This moody and melancholic metalcore number encapsulates a little bit of everything on this record before peaking with guitar hero worthy solo replete with unearthly shred.
To hear this band sound as invigorated as they do is a real blessing, as Darkest Hour show they are capable of more than what was on show on the last record. This powerful stamp of defiance from the New York veterans shows that they needn’t resort to churning out pop metal albums with diminishing returns (*cough* In Flames *cough*). Any metal fan worth their salt would do well to add this killer ensemble of songs to their collection.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What albums should I review next? Feel free to leave a comment, like this blog post, like the Facebook page , follow the Pinterest page, and follow this blog for more content.