Darkest Hour - The Eternal Return
Victory Records
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (34:53)
Release year: 2009
Darkest Hour, Victory Records
Reviewed by Khelek

Darkest Hour have had my attention since I heard their 2005 album Undoing Ruin. It was not an amazing album, but it was good enough to get a lot of play time on my stereo. Then Deliver Us came out and we heard just what this band is capable of. It was a very well put together album that combined a lot of melody with some aggression to create a great atmosphere. Now they are back with an album that supposedly goes back to their more violent metal roots. I have to say I expected more raw aggression with that kind of tagline, but The Eternal Return ends up having a lot in common with Deliver Us in the way of melody, especially in the guitar department. These guys have managed to create another good collection of songs, although I do not think the album flows together as nicely as it should.

The first song, Devolution Of Flesh, is quick, heavy and has a lot of intensity. There is also some really nice melodic guitar solo work. The vocals I notice are rawer than on the last album, although I always like John Henry's voice. A great track to start the album off with as it really got my attention and had me wanting to hear more in a pretty short amount of time. The next song, Death Worship, brings in even more melody and slows the tempo down a bit, although again you can hear the same type of emotion and intensity as in the first track, which I really like. So far the song structures themselves have been a pretty standard affair, nothing really jumping out at me in that respect. When the next track The Tides comes in, I'm not really sure what to expect. Let me tell you, this album is quite guitar driven so far. There is so much soaring melodic solo work going on in Tides I don't think my ears even knew what to do. That can be a negative thing sometimes! No God comes in next with a mid-paced tempo with a lot of melodic guitar elements once again. I think it would have been a better track if it wasn't as long because the different parts of it don't seem to flow together very well. Bitter is a quick little song that is quite intense and aggressive, the raw energy again comes across here, albeit only for a short time. It was certainly a memorable track because of the amount of intensity packed into such a short time, it shows that these guys can really create something interesting when they put their minds to it. Blessed Infection gets back to the more melancholy melody that seems to be a recurring theme in this album. It reminds me of something that could have been on the last album as it also has a memorable melody and creates the feeling of having one complete song instead of just some parts of songs mashed together. Black Sun is another good song that creates a great atmosphere and does not spend too much time doing it with unnecessary instrumental parts. There is a really great solo in this song that is a bit more subdued and does not leave you feeling bored before it's over.

Overall this is a good album, but in the end I don't think it has enough substance to be considered great. These guys certainly still know how to write songs, but the album itself did not seem to flow together as well, and some of the songs just weren't that good. I think I liked the second half of the album a bit more than the first because many of the songs create one big atmosphere (e.g. Blessed Infection, Black Sun) instead of just a lot of parts that don't seem to fit together very well. Also, a lot of the guitar work is really good, but at times I think it went overboard in the way that there were just really long and intricate solos that weren't anything new or exciting, but just there for the hell of it. I enjoyed this album, but I think it is a step down from Deliver Us. It seems the band tried to blend the more melodic elements with more aggression and it seems like a somewhat half-hearted attempt to recapture the earlier style. The album has its rougher moments, but they are few and far between such as in Bitter and A Distorted Utopia. However I have a feeling this is still an album that I'll be listening to for some time to come, even though I may be hitting the skip button from time to time.

Killing Songs :
Devolution Of Flesh, Bitter, Blessed Infection, Black Sun
Khelek quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Darkest Hour that we have reviewed:
Darkest Hour - The Human Romance reviewed by Khelek and quoted 68 / 100
Darkest Hour - Undoing Ruin reviewed by Nathanael and quoted 95 / 100
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There are 7 replies to this review. Last one on Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:57 am
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