Darkest Hour
The Eternal Return

Tasked with following up the excellent Undoing Ruin and Deliver Us, Washington DC’s Darkest Hour- arguably one of the culprits of the state of the modern American metal scene, at least know how to be consistent. Starting their more refined take of hack and slash At the Gates worship on Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation and So Sedated, So Secure before it, Undoing Ruin showed the band spreading their wings and creativity with results that belied their American heritage. Deliver Us further cemented the band as the US’s unheralded melodic death metal act.

So now with album number six, The Eternal Return sees Darkest Hour strike a balance between the more open and experimental Undoing Ruin and the hack and slash of their early work and Deliver Us. Still, present is the At the Gates and Dark Tranquillity back bone and a hardcore sheen, but I’m still stunned as to how these guys are still not mentioned when folks start talking about Killswitch Engage, All That Remains and God Forbid, when they are so much more talented and, more importantly, more metal.

The sumptuous solos that littered Deliver Us return in force as killer tracks like “Death Worship”, my personal favorite “The Tides” (with one of the best sweeps I’ve heard this year), “No God”, “Bitter”, “Blessed Infection”, “A Distorted Utopia” and “Black Sun”, and those generally are sprinkled around tight, feral and slicing yet melodic death metal that sounds American without being a mere Black Dahlia Murder wanna be. The album is pretty high octane from start to finish but not Inferi or Mirror of Dead Faces relentless, but rather a smart use of energy and dynamics with a few moments of restraint such as “Transcendence” and closer “Into the Grey”. But gone are the interludes (i.e. “Pathos” and “Ethos” from Undoing Ruin) as the band simply focuses on stellar riff after stellar riff backed by John Henry’s continual rasps and new/old producer Brian McTernan (From Autumn to Ashes, Senses Fail, Destroy the Runner, Darkest Hour’s Mark of the Judas and So Sedated , So Secure).

Basically the whole album is top notch from start to finish, with each track delivering bristling energy and deftly melodic moments blended together perfectly in unison showing that Darkest Hour are one of the most consistent yet underrated metal acts in the US scene. Fans that think that watershed album Hidden Hands of A Sadist Nation  (which came out at the height of metalcore/US Melodeath popularity) was their pinnacle need to come back to this band and see how good they truly have become while the genre has eaten itself alive.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
July 17th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Scott Alisoglu

    Concur…big time


  2. Commented by: Staylow

    This album is awesome, and continues their winning streak of great albums. Darkest Hour and God Forbid stand head shoulders above the other bands you mentioned, as well as the others that sprang up around the same time with a similar sound. Good review.


  3. Commented by: Red

    I’m shocked at how much I enjoy this album. I’ve liked their last few albums but this one really takes the cake. The solo work is excellent. Their best album yet, surely to be in my year-ends best of list…..


  4. Commented by: Nick

    It’s a solid album, and they really can’t release anything bad, but I think the tracks on The Eternal Return don’t stand out as much as those on Deliver Us. I dunno…it’s great but a slight disappointment for me.


  5. Commented by: krustster

    very good tape but it hasn’t had enough time to grow on me so I can’t give a full opinion on it.


  6. Commented by: grymmbear

    Agreed. Mike Carrigan’s solo during “The Tides” is beyond jaw-dropping… showcasing dexterity and speed, but still remaining tasteful and memorable.

    GREAT album.


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