Saturday, February 26, 2011

Darkest Hour - 2011 The Human Romance (European Edition)

Band : Darkest Hour
Album : The Human Romance (European Edition)
Release Year : 2011
Genre : Metalcore / Melodic / Hardcore

Tracklist :
1. Terra Nocturnus
2. The World Engulfed In Flames
3. Savor The Kill
4. Man And Swine
5. Love As A Weapon
6. Your Every Day Disaster
7. Violent By Nature
8. Purgatory
9. Severed Separates
10. Wound
11. Terra Solaris
12. Beyond The Life You Know
13. Hierarchy of Heathens
It’s a fact: without guitarist Kris Norris, Darkest Hour are just not as, well, kick-ass when it comes to crafting their songs anymore. But hold on now - this actually works in The Human Romance’s favor, sort of. Once you come to terms with the fact that the days of popping out “Doomsayer” or “A Paradox With Flies” are over for the band, then you get to appreciate this year’s album for what it is: a step in the right direction. You see, in 2009 Darkest Hour stated that the band was having a tough time together, and that year’s effort, The Eternal Return, definitely showed it. The album just didn’t feel like a Darkest Hour album – there was no theme, okay, the fucking thing just didn’t flow as one cohesive whole.
The difference here, then, and the main reason why The Human Romance is likely to be well-received by fans, is that this album actually does flow well. The melodic death metal songs on The Human Romance may not be as up to par to the band’s pre-2009 work, but the whole thing is pretty damn consistent, with each song offering the listener its own varying, if small, nuances to pick out and remember. 
Darkest Hour even try their hand at another instrumental epic in “Terra Solaris”, something the band hasn’t tried to do since Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation’s “Veritas, Aequitas”. Their attempt is admirable, if unexceptional, but you have to appreciate The Human Romance’s tracklisting as it offers album highlight “Beyond the Life You Know” to close the album off, instead of the plodding of the former. The closer is a song meant for all the fans of the band, a culmination of what makes Darkest Hour such a good band to begin with - ripping guitar riffs, a belter of a chorus - and brings to mind their mid-2000s' more melodic work.
It's safe to say that Darkest Hour are not as good as they used to be - sorry, fans, but The Eternal Return and The Human Romance are both indicators of that. But the band have certainly got their bearings back this year and have made the best album that they possibly could have without Kris Norris. In context of Deliver Us, The Human Romance is disapointing, no doubt, but that's really just something we're going to have to get used to when it comes to this band's output from now on, it seems. Unless something radically changes, the only thing that Darkest Hour can now make are mere shadows of their best past work, and every highlight on The Human Romance just brings to mind even better songs that the band have already put to record. You can keep hoping for a full return to form one day, I know I will, but at the same time I doubt we'll ever hear it again. The best days of this band have already come and gone.

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