Darkest Hour – Darkest Hour
Washington, DC’s Darkest Hour seem to have pissed a lot of people off. Whether it be the police while trying to tour around the US, problems with their label, and now some fans. They seem to be provoking a reaction with a lot of what they do – at least it’s not a boring ride with DC’s finest, eh?
Since 1994, their brand of melodic metalcore has remained true throughout, their albums have all been pretty stellar (2003’s Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation, 2005’s Undoing Ruin, 2007’s Deliver Us notably being fan favourites) but their sound has remained relatively untouched – until now.
Instead of just the guitars doing the melodies, vocalist John Henry has taken up part of that responsibility, to a pleasing end. Opener “Wasteland” is a mid-paced, grinding slab of metal that any fan of the Gothernburg style would love – until, the half-sung/spoken vocals come in. Fret ye not fans, Darkest Hour are not clawing at the billboard or popular charts in any way, they are clearly just taking their metal influences from bands that don’t just melt your faces but have vocal melodies too and incorporating them into their sound. With songs like “The Misery We Make” and “By The Starlight” featuring LA singer / songwriter Draemings are perfect examples of their skill with vocal melodies and song writing, but without losing their edge.
The only thing that isn’t there on the new album is the constant heavy-ness of previous records. Though the band may be doing something different or new to their sound, this should be applauded and not lamented as something they have lost. They haven’t lost anything, they are adding components that where not there before. Bands need to do something new every so often, if only for themselves so they are not type cast into recording the same sounding record every few years.
At the end of the day, you can be along for the ride with them, or if you don’t like it, get off and just listen to those albums before, but you will be missing out on a band who want to push their own boundaries, try new things, and deserve your attention for that alone – but to miss out on a stunning track like “Departure” would be doing yourself a disservice.