For Fans Of
Perhaps the worst thing that could’ve happened to Washington metallers Darkest Hour (and let’s get it straight, the band has not done a hell of a lot wrong) was something totally out of their control. Backtrack to 2005, just before the release of fourth studio album ‘Undoing Ruin‘. Victory Records’s bold and exaggerated PR machine launched a brave campaign declaring the album as ‘the decade’s answer to ‘At the Gates‘s defining ‘Slaughter of the Soul‘ and/or Metallica‘s iconic ‘Black‘ album. Unfortunately it pinned Darkest Hour into a corner and put them on a pedestal they were not yet ready to assume.
Fast forward six years and these once game assertions might not be as ill-considered as once penned. The band now have a strong, dynamic and polished sound that is a breath of fresh air in metal’s current climate.
‘The Human Romance‘ is a complete buffet of the group’s stylings. Melodic death metal, thrash and even subtle metalcore elements are all here. It doesn’t take long to realise and equally appreciate that ‘The Human Romance‘ is here to assert itself as one of 2011’s brightest and equally strongest musical points.
Soilwork axeman Peter Wichers on paper seems the perfect person to produce this album and a cursory listen only affirms this. The debut under the E1 Music umbrella and album number seven in total, is impressively well-rounded making the combination of European inspired melodic elements and a brash American confidence seem effortless.
True to the band’s word, this is Darkest Hour‘s most melodic album yet. But in metal does melodic really mean soft and easy listening? Beginning, with the tranquil and ominous sampled introduction ‘Terra Nocturnus‘, the initial offering masks any upcoming musical chaos.
‘Your Everyday Disaster‘ is a throwback to the ‘Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation‘ sessions, with its blast beat and driving thrash metal riffs, while ‘Man & Swine‘ screams At the Gates. Lead single ‘Savor the Kill‘ illustrates the band’s chosen repertoire. The track is littered with equal and prominent dashes of harmonic sweeps, aggressive vocals and interchanging metal tempos.
Penultimate track ‘Terra Solaris‘ perhaps best highlights the rhythmic progression of Darkest Hour. The instrumental track is an eight minute exercise in proper structure and execution.
With some of the indifferent, head scratching, ‘so-called’ heavy music masquerading as metal today, thank God for a band like Darkest Hour. It’s just that simple.
Add a traditional Swedish sentiment, couple it with a contemporary US intensity and you get ‘The Human Romance’. Studio album seven from Darkest Hour shows an obvious and considered fondness for those genre-leading artists that came before them. Put simply, it is hard to find fault here.
1. Terra Nocturnus
2. The World Engulfed In Flames
3. Savor The Kill
4. Man and Swine
5. Love As A Weapon
6. Your Every Day Disaster
7. Violent By Nature
9. Severed Separates
11. Terra Solaris
12. Beyond The Life You Know