One of the greatest things about Darkest Hour was that even though they found themselves on tours with the top of the metal-core trend bands, they never slipped into the melodic sing-song of which vocalist John Henry’s voice was clearly not made for. Their metal sound has always been more metal than anything else, and the fact that most of them look like clean cut nerds offstage only enhanced the intensity of their metallic blowup onstage. They were metal kids who never felt the need to model themselves after whatever band was popular at the moment, especially if that meant abandoning their harsh roots for softer sing-a-longs.
With Deliver Us, the D.C. band’s fifth album, they’ve gone against everything I just praised them for. The Iron Maiden guitar attacks are still present, as are the throat-cutting screams of John Henry and machine gun drum rolls, but also popping up in numerous places are Henry’s attempts at capturing the softer side of emotions. He sings. Many may find this as “growth” or “maturation” of a veteran band (they’ve been making noise since 1995), but to hell with that! Darkest Hour should not fall into the canyon of metal-core bands whose singers decide to emote while the rest of the band rocks. Note “A Paradox With Flies,” which is a great multi-layered song that gets ruined with these newly acquired soft vocals.
Thankfully, this album does possesses plenty of the kind of heaviness DH can always be counted on to deliver. “Stand and Receive Your Judgment,” and the album closing title track “Deliver Us,” being the top of the pile.
Darkest Hour: www.darkesthour.cc