Years ago I was very much into the so-called New Wave Of American Metal (NWOAM), spearheaded by bands, like Killswitch Engage, God Forbid, Chimaira and Shadows Fall. In their wake bands like Darkest Hour, Himsa and The Black Dahlia Murder made quite a name for themselves as well. Nowadays most bands have moved on, are inactive or have simply ceased to exist. Darkest Hour soldiered on with their trademark style and their seventh album, entitled The Human Romance, is a testimony to their perseverance.
Darkest Hour’s explosive combination of melodic death/thrash metal and straightforward songs comes out swinging on The Human Romance. The song material is more refined and diverse than ever, which adds a lot of depth to the album. Melodic songs like ‘The World Engulfed In Flames’, ‘Savor The Kill’ and ‘Love As A Weapon’ are alternated with fast paced scorchers, like ‘Man & Swine’, ‘Your Every Every Day Disaster’ and ‘Wound’. The growls and screams of John Henry tie the whole record together.
Irony has it that this specific style of metal has been explored and perfected by Carcass and At The Gates on Heartwork (1993) and Slaughter Of The Soul (1995) respectively. Granted, Darkest Hour has some punk and influences here and there, but I really don’t hear anything new or particularly innovative on The Human Romance. It’s almost like time caught up with this band and left them and their brand of metal behind.
Production wise Peter Wichers (Soilwork) did a great job. The Human Romance has a raw and energetic sound, adding a lot of punch.
Within the confines of melodic death metal The Human Romance is a very solid and worthwhile release. I’m just afraid that this kind of metal is on the verge of becoming obsolete and bands like Darkest Hour with it…