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Darkest Hour - "The Eternal Return" (CD)

Darkest Hour - "The Eternal Return" CD cover image

"The Eternal Return" track listing:

1. Devolution of Flesh
2. Death Worship
3. The Tides
4. No God
5. Bitter
6. Blessed Infection
7. Transcendence
8. A Distorted Utopia
9. Black Sun
10. Into the Grey

Reviewed by on August 19, 2009

"Darkest Hour’s 'The Eternal Return' is surprising to me as someone who likes only the most extreme of metal."

Darkest Hour’s “The Eternal Return” is surprising to me as someone who likes only the most extreme of metal. It’s surprising because there are certain elements of different genres that are stuck into the music to make it more aggressive while there are elements that make it accessible without being cheesy. People look at metalcore as preps stealing a metal look and feel to make the little girls wet their pants because they’re seeing something “evil.” But that is not what I would call Darkest Hour at all after hearing their music, which greatly changed my opinion from before. They seem to have a real love for extreme metal genres, even though they don’t want to scare anybody away.

The most noticeable homage to other genres is the way they begin and end each song very suddenly, which is like hardcore. It connotes aggressiveness because they don’t care about easing anything on the listener. Another interesting element is the drums. Ryan Parrish did a great job with them in every song as he plays double bass drums throughout the album. However, he emphasizes certain beats that create a rock format sound while still playing (black metal) double bass.

The songs do have their metalcore moments, of course. Every song follows the same format - a typical rock song format. The vocals by John Henry are good growling vocals, but the pitch never changes, and they become monotonous. The lyrics are also intelligible. In “Transcendence” he tries to go up and down a bit, but he never gets far. I would love to hear what he can do with different pitches, but I don’t know if he can. My favorite line was the aggressive “Isolation burns!” The guitars by Lonestar Carrigan and Mike Schleibaum are very heavy for riffing and grandiose for solos. The riffs in “A Distorted Utopia” and “The Tides” are great. The solos are clean and soaring and give the music an epic feel that is not over-the-top. Also in “The Tides,” the solo sounds akin to Dragonforce. “Into the Grey” has just a second of a riff that sounds a bit like Slash’s psychedelics.

For being a band with the same notoriety as metalcore boy bands, they have their heavier side. Darkest Hour has an appreciation for the darker genres of metal, but don’t pretend that they’re all about it when they’re not. They appreciate the lighter things in life, but look towards the heavy. The artwork on the cover shows that. The colors are bright yellows and oranges drawn in a 60’s fashion, but it also has an eeriness to it. An eeriness that you can only experience in the Darkest Hour of the night.

Highs: The quick starts and stops and double bass makes extremists feel at home.

Lows: All of the songs have the same structure.

Bottom line: Good music for all kinds of people.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)