The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Darkest Hour – Deliver Us
I’ve been a fan of Darkest Hour ever since I first picked up their debut album The Mark of the Judas back in 2000. Now I know this is a band that is easily looked down upon in the metal community (by most fans), and the fact they are heavily influenced by At The Gates, which is another band that is split down the middle by metal heads, doesn’t make matters any better. But on the other hand, they also have a loyal following of fans, and their track record for releasing quality albums just goes to show how much they’ve grown as a band and the kind of staying power they have. Their latest album, The Human Romance left much to be desired, and it wasn’t that it was bad, but all I could think about while listening to it was, this album is no Deliver Us.
To me, Deliver Us is the pinnacle of Darkest Hour’s career. In many ways, this is the band at their peak; the melodies, both on the guitar and those found in the vocals are the band’s strongest yet. Guitarists Kris Norris and Mike Schleibaum have stepped it up with this outing, providing a plentitude of solos and impressive leads, and vocalist John Henry sounds as passionate and relentless as ever, as he continues the more melodic singing heard on Undoing Ruin, but also punishes hard with his trademark snarl and screams of aggression.
The album starts off strong, with one of the best tracks on the album, “Doomsayer(The Beginning of the End)”. The intro is foreboding, with just the subtle stroke of the guitar strings slowly building up, it invites the listener in, but just when you’re about to get all settled in, the song explodes as the initial riff kicks in and the rest is just laid to waste. Between the aggressive vocals, coupled with the intense riffing and drum interplay, Deliver Us works fast at grabbing your attention and keeping it there for the rest of the album.
Darkest Hour – “Doomsayer(The Beginning of the End)”
Soon following in the wake of the opening track, “Demon(s)”, “An Ethereal Drain”, and “A Paradox with Flies” demonstrates how the band successfully walks the narrow line between melody and brutal play. These are definitely more easy on the ears, so to speak, and have a better potential at getting the listeners attention through use of emotional melodies, and the overall catchiness of them. Each one of these songs delivers a chorus that will stick in your head and have you singing them back in no time. Of course the benefit of that pays off ten fold in a live setting while other countless fans are screaming the words along with you.
The album tends to go back and forth; dishing out the fast and aggressive songs (“Stand and Receive Your Judgment” and “Full Imperial Collapse”), right into more melody driven ones (“Tunguska” and “Fire in the Skies”), while all the time managing to keep your ears perked and eagerly awaiting the next track to see what direction they will head in next.
The album closes with what I feel is the best track on the entire album, and the culmination of all the songs leading up to it, the title track, “Deliver Us”. It comes as no surprise that the finale contains some of the best work from Kris and Mike, as they continue the more technical guitar sound they began pursuing on their previous album, but this time around it’s in full force. The highlight though, has to be the bridge, where the duo spin and cross over and under each other, which ends in a fantastic solo from Kris right before John comes in for the final line, “Only when you’re through fleeing can you save yourself…deliver us.” It’s such a powerful ending that will quickly have you starting up the album all over again.
Regardless of what others may think about the band, I always saw Darkest Hour as one of the top bands in metalcore. Although the departure of Kris Norris is felt on their previous releases, The Eternal Return and The Human Romance, Darkest Hour still shred with each new release, and continue to show us why they are one of the top bands in the genre today. Oh, and the rad artwork from John Dyer Baizley (Baroness) only adds to the albums awesomeness!
Darkest Hour – “Deliver Us”