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Artist: Darkest Hour
Title: The Human Romance
Genre: Metalcore
Release Date: 4th March 2011
Label: Century Media

Album Review

DARKEST HOUR has shifted in its existence over time, whether it is label to label or their crafted sound, and for a time, sadly, it seemed like everything was going downhill. The album that put them on the map, ‘So Sedated, So Secure,’ was a crushing mix of melodic death metal and metalcore, chock full of melodies and aggression that was matched between the vocals and instrumentation. With the past several albums, DARKEST HOUR seems to have moved more and more towards the metalcore side while abandoning a lot of the melodic death metal aspects that made them so enjoyable (especially in the vocal aspect). Almost to the point of mallcore - a sort of trendy, mainstream metal that so many bands fall into these days- it seemed like DARKEST HOUR were about willing to sell their musical integrity for a cashed out album… and then they unleashed ‘The Human Romance.’

‘Romance’ is still strongly rooted to their metalcore side, and still full of doses of melody, so it is very similar to their last album, ‘The Eternal Return’. However, DARKEST HOUR do what they can to return to the glorious form of some of their earlier albums. Tracks like ‘The World Engulfed In Flames’ sacrifice the monotonous chug of the guitar for a more melodic structure that rises and falls, like a roller coaster, and doesn’t bore the listener. There is really a bit of Swedish melodic death metal influence here in the vein of bands like AT THE GATES, but at the same times it seems like there is still that mainstream metalcore feel that a band like ALL THAT REMAINS would have, minus the clean vocal addition. However, the various switch between melody, especially in the guitar solos, and the rapid, but addictive chugging that is often heard in metalcore goes well as DARKEST HOUR tries to restore some sort of balance.

‘Purgatory’ is one of the most “metalcore” tracks on the album, starting with a rapid drum intro and then launching off into some aggressive riffs, but at least the band includes a brief melodic interlude. The screamed vocals sometimes feel empty and hollow, as they did before, but sometimes they get more of an edge, especially when the guitars go in full force chugging like a Deathcore band. One very impressive thing that DARKEST HOUR do that is of “old material favourites” is perform a monster epic 8 minute song - fully instrumental - with no long pauses after and no hidden track. ‘Terra Solis’ is a beautiful example of how these guys haven’t sold out yet with strong aggressive parts, soft almost classical moments before they kick things back into the heavy gear again. Very few instrumentals have been written this well since CHIMAIRA’S ‘The Infection’.

Old fans still may be disappointed that DARKEST HOUR are still travelling the metalcore path, but they’ll at least be happy for the massive epic, which shows the band is either willing to take a step back or even try something new. Lengthy instrumentals were never really something DARKEST HOUR has been known for, but it is obvious that they can pull it off with ease without being repetitive. The lyrical themes are still socially aimed, but it feels like it is on a more personal level that fans can connect to, rather than that bridged gap between sadistic and normal. New fans, who are just getting into the band, will probably find this album a great place to start for the band’s current phase in their musical career. Fans who are seeking more the melodic death metal days should look back to the early 2,000 albums.


01. Terra Noctunus (01:16)
02. The World Engulfed in Flames (03:52)
03. Savor the Kill (03:48)
04. Man & Swine (03:44)
05. Love as a Weapon (04:00)
06. Your Everyday Disaster (02:46)
07. Violent By Nature (02:21)
08. Purgatory (03:46)
09. Severed into Separates (03:27)
10. Wound (03:42)
11. Terra Solaris (08:41)
12. Beyond the Live you know (04:12)


John Henry – Vocals
Mike Schleibaum – Guitars
Mike "Lonestar" Carrigan Theobald – Guitars
Paul Burnette – Bass
Ryan Parrish – Drums


Cover Picture



Music: 8
Sound: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10

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