For Fans Of
After eight albums it’s understandable if an artist becomes complacent; considering the wealth of fans they’ll have accumulated along the way, it’s easy to phone in a performance and cash in regardless.
Hearing neutral observers claim this latest self-titled release as a change of form, the interest in listening to a “potential” revamped effort is piqued considerably. Be warned: Darkest Hour have changed up their sound to fit a more metalcore inspired flavour, but thankfully, the result is a well polished, listener friendly experience that is sure to expand the band’s fan base exponentially.
For those who are fans of Darkest Hour’s heavy metal tendencies, this record will unfortunately be a disappointment as there is a wealth of clean singing and lighter guitar tones throughout. Album highlight ‘Futurist’, with its ‘kick-snare-kick-snare’ beat and repeated lyrics that begin the song, is directly built for crowd participation, rather than beating faces in the pit. This element seems to be the precise direction that the band is travelling in, as there are perfect sing-along moments built into nearly song.
For those who were worried that this would mean that intricate riffs would fall by the wayside will be able to breathe a sigh of relief, with Mike Schleibaum shredding during ‘Anti-Axis’ and chugging circle pit ready riffs in the punchy ‘Rapture in Exile’. Acoustic songs were never Darkest Hour’s most recognised talent, but both the beginnings of ‘Hypatia Rising’ and ‘By the Starlight’ provide a brief but welcome break from the speed of the first half of the album, with John Henry showing off his skill in both clean and screamed vocals.
It’s understandable if long time fans will be outraged at this full-length, as the thrash elements present in the majority of previous albums such as ‘Undoing Ruin‘ have been reduced in favour of the aforementioned melodic riffs and choruses. But these features are still evident without having to look hard such as in the Trivium-esque (or is that Darkest Hour-esque?) ‘Beneath the Blackening Sky’.
Additionally, 13 tracks may have been too many to place in the context of the album, as songs such as ‘Infinite Eyes’ and ‘The Great Oppressor’ bear a remarkable similarity to ‘Rapture in Exile’. However, both are standout tracks, so this is a minor gripe when put into perspective of what is a thoroughly enjoyable record.
Darkest Hour have managed to switch their sound up late in their career, which should be seen as an admirable feat. The listener’s opinion of the album will essentially boil down to their own personal preference. While older fans might be wise to stick to older releases, this new album brings the best of both worlds together. Newcomers and the unbiased will find an extremely fun listen. The end result simply sees Darkest Hour expanding their range.
2. Rapture In Exile
3. The Misery We Make
4. Infinite Eyes
6. The Great Oppressor
8. By The Starlight
9. Lost For Life
10. The Goddess Figure
11. Beneath The Blackening Sky
12. Hypatia Rising