By Rosie Walker
Being in a band can be hard. You see it everyday. Headlines tell you that bands are firing members, facing financial problems, and are just straight up quitting. To see kids give up on their dreams is sad, but seeing bands stick together, even through the hard times, is inspiring. The tenacious act, Darkest Hour, has been fighting the good fight for over 20 years. The East Coasters formed in 1995 and have been relentless in their craft since. They hallmarked the first generation of metalcore and still carry those roots in their sound today. These guys were among the first to integrate the hardcore punk sound with heavy metal in the mid ’90s. Their ninth studio album is here and the unique combination of genres they cultivate on it, is singular and impressive. The mixture of early metalcore, punk, and melodic death metal is a perfect cocktail you can hear on their newest album, ‘Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora’.
Opening track, ‘Knife in the Safe Room’ is like a punch in the face that releases a rancid whiff of punk and classic hardcore. The primitive pounding of drummer Travis Orbin gives the song a direct, delicious drive. The guitars of Mike Schleibaum and Michael Carrigan escort each other to the depths of gritty chaos on song #2, ‘This is the Truth’. All five members play with determination and flawless energy like bees buzzing in your ear. The guitars wade in a pool of ruthlessness while the wallowing screams of vocalist John Henry sustain you with anger and angst.
These guys are like Cancer Bats’ older, ugly brother. With some groove dripping raw, reveals their nastiness on tracks like ‘The Flesh & the Flowers of Death’. The gruesome, gliding guitar work creates a melody birthing dynamic drama. ‘Another Headless Ruler of the Used’ carries on the theatrics with grisly foreboding. Every song still has structure and definition even amongst the chaos and violence. Yet they make a major shift on the song, ‘Widowed’, an exhilarating interlude that gives you a chance to take a breath between the ceaseless, hard-hitting heaviness. The song ‘The last of the Monuments’ also has some tricks on it, with a dash of psychedelia and some clean, ambient type vocals. The album has some variety, but overall it’s a sweet surrender to swarming intensity and passion. Final song ‘Beneath it Sleeps’ comes all too soon. There’s a real juvenile, edgy feel given by the groove of bass player Aaron Deal. The production is intriguing as the gripping guitars are more predominant in the mix, making the song and the album as whole sound stronger. Over 30 seconds of distortion and slight strumming at the end of the track leaves you feeling kinda empty. The album ends and a mixture of euphoria and deflation swirls around you .
‘Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora’ salutes to the East Coast hardcore scene. These valiant veterans have evolved and matured their already signature sound into something even more amazing. Their ability to combine the hardcore punk with the melodic European metal sound is stirring and stately. Their unique combos may be what has kept them around and relevant all these years.
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Record Label: Southern Lord
Release Date: March 10th 2017
01. Knife In The Safe Room (2:49)
02. This Is The Truth (3:51)
03. Timeless Numbers (3:58)
04. None Of This Is The Truth (3:25)
05. The Flesh & The Flowers Of Death (4:30)
06. Those Who Survived (3:57)
07. Another Headless Ruler Of The Used (3:02)
08. Widowed (1:30)
09. Enter Oblivion (4:01)
10. The Last Of The Monuments (5:00)
11. In The Name Of Us All (3:35)
12. Beneath It Sleeps (5:15)
Total Duration: 44:53