It feels good to be back doing this, sharing the music I love and spreading the good word about the same to like-minded folks and what better band to sink my teeth into music journalism again, than Darkest Hour. The band has been a flag bearer for no-frills Metalcore for well over a decade, producing no less than 8 albums prior to this year’s “Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora”. The album has been produced by Kurt Ballou. Darkest Hour comprises of guitarists Mike Carrigan and Mike Schleibaum, Aaron Deal on bass, Travis Orbin on drums and John Henry on the mic.
“Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora” is the testament of mankind’s continuing transgression on Planet and the lack of concern and abundant ignorance prevailing on the matter. The lyrical content is dark and accusatory and does justice to Henry’s high shrieks and chord fries. Opening the album with a track that goes by the name “Knife in the Safe Room”, Darkest Hour underlines the futility of the nature of the subject matter of the album. The track boasts of Orbin incorporating some classic Hardcore stylized drum patterns that complement the guitar work fantastically. The opening track is sufficient testament to Darkest Hour moving on from the self-titled album, the 8th one in their kitty. The band does not shy away from making their Metal more menacing than the second.
The sudden shift in dynamics towards the bridge of the opening track, as well as the delivery of the second track “This is the Truth” impresses as well; Darkest Hour, well truth be told most Metalcore acts, are known to deliver their best work when the tempos set to breakneck BPM’s, with a few exceptions to the theory. But the tracks in “Godless Prophets…” do just to debunk that myth altogether. The 5-piece takes its time to clearly articulate the passages in the track with skillful lead work that definitely seems to be borne of 80’s and 90’s Thrash and Groove templates. This adds much flavor to the palette as Metalcore is often maligned for growing monotonous faster than a few other sub-genres. The amalgamation of Hardcore and the groove metal inspired New Wave of American Heavy Metal- sound prevails for most of the record, drawing a likeness to the band’s erstwhile favorites “Undoing Ruin” and “Deliver Us” from 2005 and 2007, respectively.
Listening to a Darkest Hour record, well more specifically the current album, would make one feel that this is the best sum of parts of both Modern Metal and Hardcore; the inevitable comparison that Darkest Hour have drawn for similarities to Melodeath fore-fathers At the Gates works in their favor too. The Melodic Death Metal elements peppering the tracks help balancing the melodic elements and the harsh elements on the record without having to give way to any clean singing or clean guitars. Make no mistake, there are clean guitars aplenty (e.g.: the track “Widowed”), but Pop-inspired they sound not!
One of the main reasons I feel a bit towards Darkest Hour as an artist is because of the simple things that make up their records, such as the confident transition from unfettered cymbal-work accompanying memorable guitar hooks, to the plain ease with which they fit the melodic one and half minute long “Widowed” on an album that seems to be paying homage to the bands Metal roots. Even in the concluding tracks, the band does not compromise on their songwriting. The Doom-tinged “Enter Oblivion” would pique the interest of anyone sampling the record seriously, as sudden shifts in tempo akin to this are what breaks the above-mentioned monotony Metalcore is blamed for.
“Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora” should be one of the stand-out records for the year, and the band have already setting out on a late April European tour in support of the album, with stalwarts Parkway Drive supporting them on the first couple of dates. Sure it’s too early to make such preposterous assumptions about how the record is received by everyone, but credit should be given where its due so please, crack the piggy bank’s own this sick slab of Metal, lest you miss out on some sick af Metal!