Darkest Hour: The Human Romance

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Darkest Hour: The Human Romance
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Darkest Hour: The Human Romance
Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore
eOne Music
February 22nd, 2011
Release length: 45:35
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Around the time The Eternal Return was released, I had a chance to sit down and talk with the guys in Darkest Hour as a group. It went well, and I am honored to this day I had the chance to sit down and just casually talk about the album with these guys. In that interview, the band mentioned that their contract with Victory had run out, and they were entertaining options of a new label, which proved true, as this is the band is issuing their seventh full-length effort, The Human Romance, through eOne Records. Along with that new record deal, it seemsa the band has once again changed up their music, and many seem to be putting this album down, claiming it’s too whiny. Why that is, I honestly have no idea, since this has some of the heaviest music this band has churned out since Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation.

Alright, so, some tracks it’s understandable. “Love as a Weapon”, for example, is a little lighter and have some clean singing that is very somber, which can be taken as a little whiny, which it kind of is. There’s no denying it there. Even the lyrical content to that track isn’t that great, but the music on this track is still rather strong and comes off more as a depressing reflective sound, and for that is genuinely works and is still an enjoyable song. However, these lighter moments can’t hold a candle to when the band decides to start tearing things apart musically. “The World Engullfed in Flames” is an intense Melodic Death Metal thrill ride that takes the bands roots and just trows the notros on it to create an intense and fast paced track that hammers away at the listener musically, and features a more harmonized screaming vocal structure that appeared in the mid-career sound of Undoing Ruin and Deliver Us. You also get “Your Everyday Disaster” which kicks things up even faster and harder as the band launches into a full blown Thrash-inspired song full of catchy riffs and two-stepping that fully glorifies the harmonized screaming vocals that feel like they are being pushed to the limit, and it just sound fantastic, matching the energy that the music just seethes from it’s snarling teeth.

The production and overall atmosphere of the album is definitely a lot darker then previous recordings by the band. While some songs do come off a little whiny by some people’s standards, it’s justifiable why the approach was made in the manner it was, as those moments do truly match the darker vibe of the music. The only thing that hurts about that is the band sometimes tries to set up some of the more depressing moments through small guitar-only bridges that are without distortion and come off very somber. While a good idea, they feel tacked on, though never really forced. “Love as a Weapon” has this element to it, as well as “Purgatory”, though the latter has it only once compared to the two times it appears on “Love as a Weapon”, and it’s much shorter, though it’s literally the same exact thing being played. Luckily the band doesn’t really try to force those moments into other tracks on the release, as those spots are bad enough.

Oter then those short somber guitar bridges, there’s really nothing bad at all about the album. This is easily Darkest Hour‘s finest hour thusfar. The music is so diverse throughout the recording, using Melodic Death, Metalcore, and Thrash all nicely, often weaving one into another, and really making the album keep from getting the slightest bit repetitive. There’s plenty of hard hitting tracks that feed a somber, depressive atmosphere into the air and still manage to stay fairly heavy, such as “Love as a Weapon” and “Wound”, but then you have songs that will flat out tear your face right off with the speed and intensity the band can bring to the recording, changing the pace completely but retaining a natural transition in styles due to the shared concepts of styles between each track. “Wound” winds up being the only genuinely weak track of the bunch, but it’s mostly because of just how different it truly is from the rest of the recording with it’s lighter, depressive sound being pushed a bit more then earlier tracks. That vibe does leak into “Terra Solaris”, the longest track on the album that starts with the depressing atmosphere through the classic piano introduction, and picks up to a very emotional-sounding instrumental, slowly building and changing as it continues on.

For those who say this album is a step backwards based on a few songs they heard on Youtube, or downloaded illegally, even fellow members of the press who obtained the same promotional stream from the label that I did, the question comes up as to whether or not you actually gave this album a chance, and if you listened to more then the few songs the band made available on the internet. This album is full of the band’s raw emotion, without going into the Emo world, which is how many people make it out to be. Infact, that raw emotion really powers this album into some furious, angry material that will simple tear your face off, all the way to insanely catchy melodies and hooks with enough power behind them to make you want to destroy anything and everything near you. The Human Romance is the perfect title for this recording, as it speaks volumes to many people from various walks of life, whether they are saddened by tragedy or just generally enraged. It’s a shame so many have put this album down the way they have since The Human Romance is easily the best Darkest Hour album they’ve recorded, and a strong contendor for album of the year for 2011.

01. Terra Nocturnus – 1:16
02. The World Engulfed in Flames – 3:52
03. Savor the Kill – 3:48
04. Man and Swine – 3:44
05. Love as a Weapon – 4:00
06. Your Every Day Disaster – 2:46
07. Violent by Nature – 2:21
08. Purgatory – 3:27
09. Severed Seperates – 3:27
10. Wound – 3:42
11. Terra Solaris – 8:41
12. Beyond the Life You Know – 4:12
Overall Score: 10/10
Darkest Hour (band)
Darkest Hour (logo)Digital review copy of this release provided by eOne Music.