Anyone who has seen advertisements for this album knows that it was being touted as “album of the decade” before it was even released. It’s not quite album of the decade, might be album of the year, but one thing’s for sure: this is the most balanced and focused Darkest Hour release yet. When the first track breaks into full stride about a minute in, 2 things are aparent: Wonderful production (by way of Mr. Townsend) and harmony. Gone (mostly) is the DH “Wall of Noise” sound they have become famous for. The aid of Devin Townsend has led the band to write fewer songs that were drawn out longer than necessary (like on “Hidden Hands…”) and develop a tighter, more unified sound and writing style. I’m glad to see them structuring their songs instead of just thrashing non stop. The single, “Convelescence”, is their most mainstream song yet – and I mean that in the loosest way possible. Though John Henry uses cleaner vocals in parts, it is still an undeniably powerful and heavy song. The intro to “This Will Outlive Us” may be the heaviest part of the record – Slayer immediatly comes to mind. The indisputible high point of the record, however, is “Low.” For the first time in their careers, they have tuned their guitars down from drop C, and it makes for a remarkably good tune. Sure, most Darkest Hour songs sound the same – they have never been ones for variety – but this is still a remarkable record and the highlight of their careers. I forsee this becoming a benchmark in American metal, and the standard for metalcore for a long time to come.
Favorite Tracks: “With a Thousand Words…”, “Low”, “District Divided”