Darkest Hour | The Human Romance

Century Media (2011)
By REYAN ALI  |  February 16, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars
Darkest Hour
My earliest exposure to Darkest Hour came via “Sound the Surrender,” off 2005’s Undoing Ruin. It was an arresting introduction: dystopian metalcore/sorta death metal paired with an unexpectedly effective piano hook. That juxtaposition added nuance to the ugly wreckage, like a medium-rare steak followed by palate-cleansing chocolate-mint fondue. Little has been added to Darkest Hour’s arsenal since then — which works both for and against them. The long-running DC-based band’s seventh record has more of those tight riffs that are prone to sounding like choppers taking flight. John Henry’s distinctive voice is one of the group’s best weapons, an imposing growl that’s able to stay relatively intelligible. Still, Henry and his bandmates don’t exactly stretch themselves here. This is a wholly serviceable record rendered humdrum by a lack of spontaneity. “Violent by Nature” is tight; “Terra Solaris” handily sustains eight minutes, slipping from electric to acoustic and back again; “Man and Swine” has a brilliant climax. But mostly The Human Romance is just Darkest Hour reiterating a formula they already know. There’s no need for a drastic overhaul, but some risks would enliven the flavors they’re clearly intent on keeping.
Related: Old 97's | The Grand Theatre, Suuns | Zeroes QC, Bryan Ferry | Olympia, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , John Henry, Washington DC, Death metal,  More more >
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