Review : Darkest Hour - The Human Romance
SputnikmusicSo you’re halfway into this new Darkest Hour album so far, right? The Human Romance is going strong. It’s got most of what you want from a Darkest Hour album, minus a certain guitarist - that kick-ass vocalist in John Henry, glasses-wearing-nerd-turned-impassioned-vocal-thrasher, and the hell-raiser drummer in Ryan Parrish, who knows how to almost singlehandedly propel Henry through each chorus just on the strength of his playing style. Yeah, you punched your neighbor to the choruses of “Savor The Kill” and later on raised your hands to the anthems of "Wound'; and then you grabbed a bat and broke shit around your house to the thrash attack of “Man and Swine”. Okay, yeah, sure, the album’s good so far, cool. Then you hit fifth track “Love as a Weapon”.
You stop your media player to think: You know, this song is awesome, especially that riff that comes in about thirty-five seconds in but – but, hold on here. This reminds you of something that you’ve heard before. You flip through your library of music files, various downloads you haven’t listened to just yet, or even unzipped, and you come to Darkest Hour’s career peak thus far: 2007’s Deliver Us. You browse through the album’s highlights, compare them with those of The Human Romance, and you conclude:
You know, Darkest sound worse now than they did back then a few years ago.
It’s a fact: without guitarist Kris Norris, Darkest Hour are just not as, well, kick-ass when it comes to crafting their songs anymore. But hold on now - this actually works in The Human Romance’s favor, sort of. Once you come to terms with the fact that the days of popping out “Doomsayer” or “A Paradox With Flies” are over for the band, then you get to appreciate this year’s album for what it is: a step in the right direction. You see, in 2009 Darkest Hour stated that the band was having a tough time together, and that year’s effort, The Eternal Return, definitely showed it. The album just didn’t feel like a Darkest Hour album – there was no theme, okay, the fucking thing just didn’t flow as one cohesive whole....full text
ThrashhitsDear Thrash Hits readers, its confession time, and it’s a big one… When I was growing up, I wasn’t actually really into metal at all. Mine was a adolescence dominated by the likes of Greenday and Pennywise. Latterly I was introduced to harder sounds by the raucous East Coast hardcore of bands like Sick of it All and Ensign, but throughout it all I remained a resolutely punk rock kid. You see I (naively) viewed punk as being an important counter-culture for the politically aware youth, while metal was an also-ran for smelly middle aged men and meatheads with shit haircuts.
One band changed all this for good however. That band was Darkest Hour.
Finally! Here was a group who combined the fun and integrity one commonly associates with punk, with the slash and burn approach of thrash metal. The riffs were absolutely face-melting, the solos mindblowing, the lyrics caustic and the delivery ferocious. With Devin Townsend behind the desk they produced arguably two of the best records of the modern metal era, namely Undoing Ruin and Deliver Us, and whilst the loss of lead axe-man Kris Norris saw them return to a more straight forward aproach on most recent effort The Eternal Return the Darkest Hour machine rumbles on in tireless, trendless form.
So what of The Human Romance then? Well the first thing to note is that if you weren’t a Darkest Hour fan before, there will probably be very little which will change your mind here. All is, essentially, as it ought to be. Ryan Parrish’s drums are as insistent and driving as ever, Mike Schleibaum’s riffs are in turn spikey and triumphant whilst returning member Mike ‘Lonestar‘ Carrigan fills the hole left by Norris’ with an admirable contribution. There has always been an inate melodicism central to even Darkest Hour’s densest work and they have cranked this aspect of their sound to 11 on The Human Romance. Tracks like ‘Beyond The Live You Know’ and ‘Savour the Kill’ see John Henry letting his voice break into a gruff singing voice which brings an emotional gravitas to the racing fretwork and swaggering, head-banging riffs....full text
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