Darkest Hour – Deliver Us
Victory Records (7/10/07)
Metalcore / Death metal
Darkest Hour is the perfect example of a band that has grown content with its place in the industry. With so many successful albums under its belt, there’s no way that at least a few major labels haven’t come calling yet, but the band seems content to stay on Victory.
Now, while there’s nothing wrong with that attitude when it comes to a home for your music (as listeners, what do we care what label a band releases on?), it becomes a hindrance when you take the same attitude with your music, which is what Darkest Hour has done.
Growing leaps and bounds since 2001’s So Sedated, So Secure, which was a landmark album for the band as it worked to incorporate as many extreme elements of metal to craft its sound, the group pushed the envelope ever so slightly with the next couple of albums. But, with Deliver Us, Darkest Hour seems happy just rehashing the blend of metal and hardcore to an honorable, albeit tired, result.
The album opens promisingly enough with “Doomsayer (The Beginning of the End)”, featuring an acoustic intro and some inspired melodies (the hook in the chorus is a great surprise, too). The album is full of these surprises: the â€œcleanâ€ vocal refrain in “Sanctuary”, John Henry’s delicate balance of extreme and clean vocals on “Demon(s)”, the haunting instrumental “The Light at the Edge of the World”, the desperate melody on “A Paradox With Flies” and the killer guitar work on “Tunguska”. In fact, the impressive “Tunguska” is exactly what Darkest Hour needs more of on the album.
The flip side is tracks like “Full Imperial Collapse”, “Stand and Receive Your Judgement”, “Fire in the Skies” and album closer “Deliver Us”â€”all songs that follow the tired and true Darkest Hour template.
As a long-time fan of the band, you’d like to see some chances taken here and thereâ€”some lengthier, meatier songs (like the aforementioned “Tunguska”), perhaps more experimenting with the melodies, even more of the instrumental work. Instead, the band falls back to the comfort of short, blast-beat hardcore whenever it starts to shift from the norm.
Darkest Hour is one of those bands that should be at the forefront of the metal scene, if not for lack of effort (and hopefully not attention). They continuously release solid outings that one would expect, which, while not a bad thing, could ultimately prove their undoing if fans become too complacent with the sound or effort. Or, even worse, when change becomes inevitable, the changes needed are too drastic to be made.