DARKEST HOUR are one of the first bands anyone referred to with the term “metalcore” although their music hops across the melodic death metal-metalcore borderline with every riff. Throughout the years they’ve changed a bunch of record labels that included Victory and Sumerian records, whilst experimenting with their sound on each album, sometimes more, sometimes less but always having their own identity and sound. Their journey finally lead them to Southern Lord Recordings (POWER TRIP, XIBALBA, ALL PIGS MUST DIE) and through them landed their latest work, “Godless Prophets And The Migrant Flora”.
Labeling this album as “metalcore” will not only do it injustice, but in fact, metalcore exists less out of any other genre in there. This is a record that does, hardcore, thrash metal, melodic death metal all equally well. From the moment you hit the play button you better buckle up because you’re getting grabbed from the balls from song #1. You hear the term “bring back the riffs” get thrown every here and there, well DARKEST HOUR do just that.
All the songs have riff oriented structures, riffs that crush your soul and will keep your head grooving from the first second of the album to the last. From well balanced melodies, thrash metal triplets and sometimes crossover elements to bay area-Kill’Em All-ish solos, all combine to produce the absolutely fantastic guitar work done in this record. The same can be said about all the instruments really. The drums are well-crafted, well-executed, cleverly composed and fitted great within the songs, but most of all, they are imaginative (keep your ears on for that blast-beat in “This Is The Truth”). The vocals in DARKEST HOUR have always been good but they still seem to get better from album to album, and this one is no exception. John Henry does an amazing job at delivering hate, passion, anger and struggle through his vocals as well as his lyrics.
“The perfect example of how you don’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to make a great metal record.”
One thing that also amazed me while listening to the album and even when writing this review is that there are no obvious comparisons to other bands that come to my mind. While the album sounds like something you’ve heard before, you can’t really put a finger on what band sounds very similar to what DARKEST HOUR do in this album, and I’m usually very good at finding bands that influence the song that I’m listening to. This speaks volumes to how DARKEST HOUR maintain their identity while playing music styles that have been done from lots and lots of artists that sometimes struggle to maintain their distinctiveness.
The amazing Kurt Ballou from CONVERGE is once again responsible for this record’s production and mixing (he also did production for CODE ORANGE’s “Forever” that I enjoyed thoroughly to say the least). There’s not much to be said here. The mix is everything a metal record should be and I will run out of superlatives if I start talking about it more.
“Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora” is the perfect example of how you don’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to make a great metal record, you just have to take advantage of that wheel and keep it spinning in the most efficient way possible and that’s just what DARKEST HOUR do here. This is simply metal done right. Nothing too flashy, nothing too complex, just 12 amazing in-your-face songs that will satisfy your need to kill someone, or just, you know… listen to something heavy. In each case, there’s a knife in the safe room.