I first started listening to Darkest Hour when my buddy sent me a few of their songs off their last album, Undoing Ruin. I quickly became addicted to songs like Convalescence and These Fevered Times and began looking up more of the band’s decently sized discography. I liked their style of harsh vocals and the lyrics themselves were very catchy and fairly clear (for a metalcore band anyway). In their newest release, Deliver Us, Darkest Hour has expanded their horizons and put together a solid album that will please fans of their previous albums, as well as give them a little something different.
First of all, it seems they’ve experimented with much clearer, sung vocals, rather than the constant gravelly vocals that their previous albums contained. Usually, I’m pretty against bands doing this to their vocals, but in this case, it’s not so extreme that it takes away from the older style that I originally liked. Songs such as “Sanctuary” and “Demon(s)” feature choruses that are more sung than screamed, but still rely heavily on the screaming vocals for verses and remainder of the song. These songs are a careful blend of singing/screaming that really worked for me: you can still tell it’s Darkest Hour, but there’s a definite destinction between this album and other releases. It also seemed to me that in “Stand and Receive Your Judgement”, the vocals played around with a little heavier, death metal style of growling when building into the chorus, which I liked a lot. The vocals have been played around with slightly in this album, but not all songs are tinkered with in this way. “Doomsayer (The Beginning Of The End)” and “Fire in the Sky” are everything I’ve come to expect from Darkest Hour: hard, fast, in-your-face style metalcore, and an all-around catchy songs. These could have easily blended into their last album, and are very reminiscent of the older releases.
Vocals aside, the instrumentation and technicality of their music has improved as well. Guitar solos are much more abundant and hard-hitting than before, and the all around guitar within the songs is MUCH clearer and more distinguished. Many of the songs are very fast-paced (“Full Imperial Collapse” and “Doomsayer (The Beginning Of The End)”), which is much like Darkest Hour of yore, however, songs such as “A Paradox with Flies” and “An Ethereal Drain” move at a much slower pace. These songs still deliver, in my opinion, but on a different level. These tracks contain more of actual singing than screaming and a lot more instrumentation. Kind of a new look for Darkest Hour, but it’s not bad. Some of the lyrics, especially in “A Paradox With Flies”, can get kinda sappy, but take it at face value and it’s still damn good music.
Some of the songs tended to run on the shorter side however, which was slightly disappointing. “Sanctuary” and “Stand and Receive Your Judgement” seemed like they were over before the should be. They were both good songs, but I tend to shun away from tracks that are under three minutes or so, just because even if they are good, they seem like they’re finished too early. I wasn’t a huge fan of the instrumentation track on this album either (“The Light at the Edge of the World”). It’s just kind of waning guitar work with some talking in the background that’s almost inaudible and hard to understand. I think the album could have done without that track and still stand fine. A bit on the shorter side maybe, but still worth listening to.
My Top 3:
3. “Stand and Receive Your Judgement” – Face-paced, hard-hitting, all-around good song. I liked the experimenting with heavier vocals in here as well. The intro instrumentation reminded me slightly of Destroy The Runner, but I may be the only one to see that, hah.
2. “Doomsayer (The Beginning Of The End)” – Nice, slow intro into the CD, but builds itself up very quickly. A very fast tempo-ed song that will definately please hardcore Darkest Hour fans.
1. “Fire in the Sky” – This is definately a signature style song for Darkest Hour. It contains everything I’ve come to expect from Darkest Hour: fast, harsh vocals, catchy lyrics, and nifty guitar licks. This track delivers more however, with crystal clear instrumentation and awesome guitar work throughout the song, with a very nice solo about 1:40 in. Awesome song!
In closing, Darkest Hour’s newest album has stayed true to their original style, while taking small, but necessary, steps towards new ideas. A band that released album after album that sounded exactly the same, regardless of whether I liked the first album or not, would get really old. New vocal styles and an increased focus on technicality has made this a fresh album to listen to, while still giving me what I expect from these guys. I hear some complaining about this album and how Darkest Hour is “selling out” to a singing style and shunning away their harsh vocals which many fans have come to love. To those that claim this, listen to my top 3. If you’re still disappointed, then you’re not a true Darkest Hour fan as far as I’m concerned. This is definately an album that metalcore fans and metal fans alike should pick up. Solid album by a solid band!