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Darkest Hour “The Human Romance”

Darkest Hour are a melodic death metal band based out of Washington, D.C. I hear some death metal influence, but I hear a lot more melodic death on this album than the last, which is not necessarily a bad thing, and considering the last album it’s probably a good move. The Human Romance is clearly meant to be a heavy, dark and emotional album, and for the most part they really succeed in making the album a roller-coaster of melodic death. Songs like Savor the Kill and Love as a Weapon lead nicely into the more aggressive tracks like Your Everyday Disaster and Violent By Nature, which in turn lead to the more brooding tracks like Wound, Terra Solaris and the closer, Beyond the Life You Know, which is good combination of both in a more epic format. The two instrumental tracks, Terra Nocturnus and Terra Solaris, make excellent beginning and ending points for the album, the latter leading into the closing track.

John Henry takes care of vocals for Darkest Hour. He doesn’t have the most powerful voice in the world, but his voice does have a raw quality that lends itself very well to the lyrical content and mood of The Human Romance. He seems to be improving every album, which as a musician is an excellent direction to be going in and something he deserves credit for. Lyrically this album is dark, dealing with themes of anger, frustration, endless circles of doing the same thing over and over and year after year, which according to Einstein is the definition of insanity. Mike “Lonestar” Carrigan and Mike Schleibaum handle the guitar work and do an excellent job of combining the more melodic elements of death with some of the moody dark atmospheric elements that one might expect from other bands such as Katatonia. Paul Burnette handles the bass with an expert touch, knowing when to stick with the guitars and when to step out of the box and make things more interesting. I particularly like how he will move around the root of the chord under some of the more straight forward guitar riffs. It’s subtle but excellent playing. Ryan Parrish is one of those drummers who is not afraid to open up and be less dense on occasion, but he can also bring things up in intensity very quickly and suddenly. This makes the drumming on this album interesting and very much not like my favorite drum whipping boy, Lars Ulrich, who is the only “professional” drummer I’ve ever heard confuse himself in a song. Parrish is great at accenting vocal parts which lend a lot of power to the overall sound of the song. The influence of Soilwork guitarist Peter Wichers has been a positive one in the role of producer.

Overall The Human Romance is a solid album that will make up for the last effort and gets Darkest Hour back on track and back into what they do well, the more melodic side of death metal. I think fans of the band will be pleasantly surprised and happy to see Darkest Hour return to form and exceed expectations.

Track Listing:

  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
  8. Purgatory
  9. Severed Separates
  10. Wound
  11. Terra Solaris
  12. Beyond The Life You Know*

 


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