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There are many ways to start a review, but I'm really bad at introductions and my English is not that profound yet, but hopefully I can be clear enough to share my thoughts on this amazing album.
So, the album opens through your ears with the exciting song "Doomsayer (The Beginning of the Exit)", a little acoustic melody like Pathos from Undoing Ruin, but less elaborated. After the short intro stops, you really are now into the album the moment that the guitars get distorted and John Henry yells "You are the only one!". There is no turning back as you are now hooked by Darkest Hour's aggressive and melodic journey. That's one thing I love about this record. It really feels like a journey, the songs flow smoothly between and into each other while the lyrics are being sung by one of the most emotive voices you can find in contemporary metal these days. Yes, they are a bit monotone, but you can't find that raspy-light-hardcore-growl anywhere else. It's not as aggressive as a low growl, not as raspy as a shriek, and definitely not just mid-ranged hardcore yelling. On top of that you have occasional clean (not totally clean, though) choruses that still has his signature guttural tone.
Now that we got into the vocals, we can tell that the lyrics are a strong point of the album. Maybe not all listeners pay much attention to them, but I'm sure a lot are interested to see if they connect in other ways to the music rather than just instrumentation. Songs like "Doomsayer", "Demon(s)" and "A Paradox With Flies" really demonstrates that John Henry is a quality lyricist. He has done this already in previous and newer works, showing how they don't sing about silly love stories or how they owe their lives to the lord, or how hardcore they are. There is no stuff like that and you can identify yourself in many aspect of his writing.
The music itself is a blend of Gothenburg's melodic death metal with little hints of U.S. hardcore, the first being the predominant part of the record while the core aspects are just in the edges of the music or are not even there at all. This was their last album with guitarist Kris Norris and he will not be forgotten. Many of the memorable leads, riffing, and solos came from that guy's head. You have a pretty emotional lead work here, ones that you listen to once and you remember later trying to figure out where did you hear that from, and you pleasantly find out that it was from this record (it happened to me more than twice). There's a large number of those little melodies in this album. You may have your favorites if you give a true chance at listening to this. Mine are 3:10 to 3:17 of "Doomsayer", 1:39 to 1:47 of "Fire in the Skies", and well, you get the idea. Every solo has something that you will remember, of course, if you like this style of music. In the riffing you have fast, string-skipping, harmonized riffs that are the ones that stand out when they are not giving dual guitar leads or solos. These kinds of riffs are really catchy, but if you don't like metalcore at all, you might confuse them at first listen and just block yourself to enjoy them. Please do not, as these riffs are mostly influenced by Swedish melodic death metal, just played with an American edge. You also have more heavy-trashy riffing in songs like "Stand and Receive Your Judgement" and the fun "Closing Up the Day", this one having what some might call a "breakdown" and maybe the only one you can find in the album, which is a heavy, fun way of closing an amazing album.
The bass is pretty much what you would expect from a non-progressive/experimental metal record, just following the lines below the guitars, but it gets the job done. You never have that empty feeling that something is lacking, and the moments where you can hear an actual bass work are in the little interludes in the middle of the songs, if you pay attention. The drums here are not the fastest, not the fanciest, and maybe not the most memorable. You have your 1-2 beat and the constant bass pedal in many sections of the songs, but something that caught my attention is that Ryan Parrish feels like he knows that he doesn't need to go double bass all the time. He lets the riffs breathe from time to time, and for that I thank him. He is no longer in the band after a long period of being a solid member, but it'll be interesting to see how their new drummer, Travis Orbin, gets into the creative process. I'm familiar with some of his work in Sky Eats Airplane and I can tell the guy has massive skills.
The production of the recording has never been one of my strong points. I mean, I know the difference between something well-produced and from something that sounds awfully recorded, but I'm not too profound at that process. The album sounds good to me as every instrument has its place and nothing sounds too loud or too quiet.
This album is for people who enjoy modern metal acts, but are not really satisfied with the more mainstream stuff. Darkest Hour really stands out for their style, and like Zodijackyl said some time ago, "Too metal for the hardcore kids, too hardcore for the metal kids."
Darkest Hour is one of those bands that I consider extremely underrated and a band that deserves more recognition. Undoing Ruin was an absolute masterpiece in every way and I believe the production work Devin Townsend put into it had a lot to do with it. It pretty much took the band above and beyond their current capabilities. So it would be obvious that with Townsend at the helm again, Deliver Us would be another incredible album by the Darkest Hour dudes.
The goal here was to go above and beyond what Undoing Ruin was and they have succeeded here without a doubt. From the jump the albums opener, Doomsayer perfectly displays Mike and Kris’ guitar work with the melodic death metal string skipping and quick action palm muting that sounds fantastic. They both compliment each other in the right ways and never seem to overpower one another. Kris’ guitar solos are more technical and powerful than in their last album and I know for a fact Townsend had more than something to do with it. He pushed Kris to perform and go beyond his abilities as a guitarist with amazing results. Doomsayer, Deliver Us and An Ethereal Drain are a good example of this. Certain tracks such as A Paradox With The Flies, Tunguska and Demons(s) are signs of growth as a band considering that these songs simply wouldn’t find their place in Undoing Ruin. That’s not a bad thing at all because all these songs kick ass which find their own place on the album and bring their own unique quality to the listener. The album progresses nicely as the energy level is consistent until you hit The Light At The Edge Of The World a song which you hear John reciting poetry. A nice calm before entering the storm once again with tracks like the killer Fire in The Skies and Deliver Us. If you enjoyed Undoing Ruin then you will enjoy this follow-up just as much if not more.
John has always been a pretty unique wordsmith in his own right and never takes the simplistic approach to writing lyrics. In Deliver Us, the lyrics are good and far from simplistic which is what a Darkest Hour fan would expect. His vocals are pretty much the same as in Undoing Ruin except in certain tracks where his somewhat clean vocals come into play. A Paradox With The Flies is one of them. The chorus is sung instead of growled and is perhaps a little cheesy. It's not too bad though. Certainly not nacho shit.
Ryan is one of those drummers that no one seems to recognize. I hear talks about many other drummers but what about Ryan fucking Parrish? This guy's drum fills, double kicks and technical skill are unreal. Take the time and focus only on his drum work and you'll notice he never stops. I mean seriously, the man is a fucking animal and the track Demon(s) is a clear example of this. He keeps the band tight and places his own stamp on the band here. On an album where the vocals and guitar work are the focal point, Parrish's drum work shines and at times overshadows everything else.
Devin Townsend did it again and helped create another Darkest Hour masterpiece. The songs are all worthy of listening to and I didn’t find myself skipping any one of the tracks even after several listens. Today, Kris and Ryan are no longer in the band but it’s albums like this one that allow us to appreciate their contribution to this band. Deliver Us follows the same formula that made Undoing Ruin incredible. The amazing musicianship, lyrical and vocal performance with a mix of brutality and melody from Undoing Ruin is here and steps it up to another level.
Let me start off by saying I love music that is unique to any given band, if I am able to tell who a band is by production quality and their opening riffs that tends to be a good thing. That being said, this album offers absolutely nothing to the music community. Generic guitar riffs plague every single song creating a repetitive and monotonous atmosphere. Incredibly dull and hoarse vocals (which seem to have been done millions of times over and over again) lack any form of screams, growls or any form of talent at all. The music is melodic and very easy to listen to, however it is incredibly boring and lacks any form of entertainment value.
Another major issue I have with this album is that is lacks any form of atmosphere. It is unable to convey any form emotion to the listener. Because the music is lacking in any form of diversity or uniqueness, the music is hollow. Darkest Hour has failed to make me feel anything other than boredom.
The vocals are an extremely over used disappointment. Almost every single modern day band has the same dull hoarse voice (Think of Immolation's Ross Dolan on valium). The guitars follow the same tune. They are incredibly unoriginal and repetitive. Every song is a flurry of simplistic, melodic guitar riffs. The band lacks any form of technicality or complexity.
The drumming is very slow and simplistic throughout every song and it is a damn shame. The drums are unable to save this pitiful musicianship. The drums lack any form of complexity or speed. Due primarily to the fact that a relatively new drummer could play every song it is incredibly uninteresting. Darkest Hour is yet another metalcore band that would appear to target mainstream individuals (as this very style of music in which they play has been done to death). There are some good metalcore bands out there, however Darkest Hour is not one of them.
Darkest Hour has never failed me and continues on with another great melodic metal and metalcore album. Undoing Ruin was a great album but Deliver Us just seems to make it better.
Starting with the guitars, it's full of great melodies similar to Undoing Ruin. The sound though lacks the clarity of the previous album with more dirt which sounds really good in my ears. The blazing solos we all know are back with some more variety; besides Kris Norris' greats in songs like "Doomsayer" and "Deliver Us" (now I consider better than Sound The Surrender) using a more conventional approach, Mike Schleibaum steps in with a sort of a hard rock/heavy metal style in the thrashy "Stand & Receive Your Judgement." Devin Townsend does a awesomely weird appearence on Full Imperial Collapse which helps the song well due to it's intentional confusion. Paul Burnette's bass work does it job and has some moments especially in the slow interlude, "The Light At The Edge Of The World." Acoustics fill up some songs like Tungska with a great and quick melodic riff which just made me cry.
What I can say that the drums are still accurate filled with it's thrashy and metalcore sections. Sometimes it's hard to hear the cymbals just like the previous albums.
Vocals seem to have the most apparent difference on this record. It felt a bit weak and clean on Undoing Ruin, but in Deliver Us, he almost did a complete change on his style. Like the guitars, he seems to be more rough sounding which is a good thing. Introduced in Convalescence, he is using clean vocals in parts in about half the album. It's detailed and a little varied which makes songs like Tunguska and A Paradox With Flies doesn't sound boring at any way.
All these elements seem to mix up quite good in the song Demon(s). That should have been the last song (besides Closing On The Day, but I don't have the FYE version yet) for that reason.
At the end of the day, I believe this can be their best next to Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation due to balance of all the tracks put in. Even with minor problems, the pieces seem to fit correctly to make me consider this as my and maybe even your one of or the best album of 2007.
The much anticipated follow-up to the classic Undoing Ruin is here. Some may have shat themselves upon impact, others may have shat on those who shat themselves on impact. Like it or not, Darkest Hour is back ... and slightly different.
Having been a darkest hour fan since I first heard "The Sadist Nation" on my friend's ipod, I eagerly tore open the plastic wrapping of their latest effort Deliver Us. The band has clearly taken some steps to elevate their careers, if you know what I mean. They might even have written some of this in anticipation of the vast crowds of tweeners that would show up at Sounds Of The Underground to suck some cock in the pit. Let me explain. Some of the songs have choruses that are *gasp* sung. In the song "A Paradox With Flies", John Henry croons the words "In your eyes I see so much more, than that place you always go back to". It’s catchy, but since I don’t like to frolic with other men in bed, I much preferred the angst they used as lyrical fodder in their previous three albums to this tear stained miasma. This unfortunate condition also plagues "Sanctuary" and "Demon(s)". The rest of the songs don’t feature choruses that are sung, but sound like outtakes from an As I Lay Dying album. "An Ethereal Drain", "Tunguska" and the emotional instrumental "The Light At The Edge Of The World" all have AILD moments.
The remaining 5 songs on the album, combined with abundant guitar solos throughout the disc, redeem it somewhat. The “Doomdsayer” is a good example of what I’ve come to expect from Darkest Hour, with its dark vibe and speedy tempo. The title track is slower but at least it’s recognizable as Darkest Hour. The guitar solos sear, showing off the chops of Mike Schleibaum. And that just about sums up the good side of this album.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a wretched compilation of crap. It’s a good album, it has its merits. It’s just a step down from the Darkest Hour of yore, and perhaps, a step toward a grim future in which Darkest Hour do a split cd with Atreyu and tour with Korn. Deliver us, indeed.