Darkest Hour - The Human Romance

Album cover
Metalcore
E1 Music
Darkest Hour
The Human Romance
Darkest Hour - The Human Romance Review rating:
3
User rating:
Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Though 'core of the metal persuasion has been out of vogue for some time in favor of its more brutal and technical cousin deathcore, there are still a few bands left who continue to play breakdowns like it was 2004. Darkest Hour’s seventh full-length, and first on E1 records, certainly continues this by remaining in the vein of previous releases, harking back to the heyday of contemporaries As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, et al.

Though this particular brand of metalcore has often been prefixed with the “melodic” modifier, Darkest Hour have always been especially so, heavily drawing inspiration from the Swedish death metal scene made popular in Gothenburg in the early ‘90s. That being said, The Human Romance does not stray much from its predecessors in terms of its synthesis of hardcore and melodic death metal. The leads and solos are absolutely delicious, and are without a doubt the highlight of the album.

The songwriting heard here is catchy to a fault, which ends up being a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the record is arguably the most accessible and consistent to date. On the other, said consistency and the slick production serve to make The Human Romance something of a cookie cutter affair. The riffs, drumming, and vocal presentation are all status quo for both the band and the style in general, and with the shift to more traditional song structures and an emphasis on soaring choruses, the overall effect is one of mediocrity, if one that immediately draws you in.

Despite this, the album manages to have its redeeming moments. In particular, the eight-plus minute instrumental “Terra Solaris” belies the otherwise commercial nature of its surrounding songs, showing a band that is more mature than the style they play in is often given credit for. Certainly, there will be those decreeing such an indulgent piece as a cheap imitation of classics like Metallica’s “Orion” or the lengthy instrumental passages of a full-fledged progressive outfit like Opeth or Between the Buried and Me, but on the whole, the effort comes off as sincere and well-crafted.

Darkhest Hour’s latest is a fun romp through melodic, angular metal. It’s not likely to convert you if you didn’t like the band or melodic metalcore to begin with, and is certainly too commercial for those looking for the harshness of more brutal affairs. However, if enjoyed for what it is, with no expectations of any wheels being reinvented, the overall effect is one of a catchy and solid record.

1. Terra Noctunus
2. The World Engulfed in Flames
3. Savor the Kill
4. Man & Swine
5. Love as a Weapon
6. Your Everyday Disaster
7. Violent by Nature
8. Purgatory
9. Severed into Separates
10. Wound
11. Terra Solaris
12. Beyond the Life You Know

Darkest Hour is a melodic death metal/metalcore band currently signed to E1 Music. The band is officially based in Washington, DC, but several of the members live in Richmond, Virginia. Their sound is akin to classic European metal acts such as At the Gates and In Flames, but it is noted for the incorporation of elements of punk and hardcore music. Over the years they have toured with many influential acts, including The Crown, ZAO, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Thrice, and Soilwork. They also played 2004's Ozzfest.

History

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