Darkest Hour

Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora

Written by: PP on 05/11/2017 13:45:09

With core elements long behind them, Darkest Hour has formed into a fully-fledged melodeath and/or thrash metal band in their later years. No longer as infectiously catchy as they were during their metalcore era, the awe-inspiring fretwork of their guitarist Mike Schleibaum is nonetheless very much on display on tracks like "Timeless Numbers", whilst vocalist John Henry's tireless throaty scream is still going strong. Their self-titled album from three years ago saw the band trial cleaner singing and other melodic arrangements; those experiments have been all but abolished on "Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora", where John Henry is back to roaring and growling his way through an uncompromising melodeath expression drawing from the Gothenburg scene.

Instead, "Godless..." pursues a complex, dynamic metal expression that features signature-style Darkest Hour solos (see: "Another Headless Ruler Of The Used") flavoring breakneck speed thrashy riffs that range from tapped leads to flat-out punishing shredding. Let's just put it this way: heads will bang during the riffs of "Those Who Survived", for instance. "The Last Of The Monuments", in contrast, sounds like something In Flames could've written at the turn of the millennium. Common to both styles is an unforgiving level of heaviness that mows down its listener on almost every song: the aggression levels have been toned up by quite a few notches on this one.

The exception to the rule is "Widowed", a semi-acoustic interlude that leads us to the majestic soundscape of "Enter Oblivion". Finally, the tempo is cut in half, and the band goes for atmospherics with an ambitious, expansive soundscape that brings you back to the beautiful moments of "Tranquil" from "Undoing Ruin" twelve years ago.

But that's about as close to their metalcore masterpiece that we'll get on this album. The rest is straight up thrash/melodeath spiced with Henry's characteristic roars on top, or as one internet commenter noted, putting an American spin on the Gothenburg melodeath scene as they've done so many times in the past. The end result is, therefore, rock solid, but is it enough to turn heads this time around? If you focus on the guitars alone, then the answer is a resounding yes. The riffs are among the best the band has written since "Deliver Us". But somewhere along the line they blend together and become just a roared, layered wall of melodeath, as there isn't enough vocal melody to string the songs together from good cuts into masterpieces.

Download: This Is The Truth, Timeless Numbers, Enter Oblivion, Those Who Survived
For the fans of: As I Lay Dying, At The Gates, In Flames
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.03.2017
Southern Lord

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