Washington, D.C. metal core foursome Darkest Hour is back and bringing the brutality with their latest release, ‘Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora.’ Fans of the band will likely find this 12 track record to be the band’s best to date, thanks to its inspired, fresh sound and all-out, balls to the wall energy. Produced by Kurt Ballou (Nails, Converge, High on Fire) at GodCity Studio, Darkest Hour pulls no punches, fusing rapid metal riffs with the high energy and recklessness of the punks roots so embedded in the downtown culture of D.C.
The band kicks things off “Knife in the Safe Room,” an aggressive, adrenaline fueled thrill ride that explodes like bullets from a chamber. John Henry’s vocals are at peak performance during this song, spitting out lyrics in a way that makes you want to get up and move. Likewise, the track ‘Timeless Numbers’ is equally as invigorating, with Travis Orbin’s pulsating drums taking center stage. The song is more than just a double shot of Red Bull for your ears, however. Guitarist Mike Schleibaum tells Loudwire that “Timeless Numbers” is both “the continuation of the storyline that permeates the album” and reflective of the destructive way in which people consistently turn their back towards one another. “[The song] is a reflection on the drain of modern life and the subsequent division / internal destruction that this life seems to always lead humanity towards. As we travel the world, we have seen how no matter where you are, humans divide themselves. We interact with immigration policies, boarders and barriers that are cultural, economic and political everyday that we are on tour. While traveling the world we have done our best to spread a message of anti-nationalism, unilateral respect for humans of all forms, and lastly the basic idea that music/art is more powerful and more eternal then religion, nation states or even technology!”
Naturally, politics and religion are both reoccurring themes in ‘Godless Prophets…,’ particularly the inclusion/exclusion of others that occurs as a result of both. At times the band can fall into a comfort zone of repetition, particularly around the halfway mark, however the melodic, Zeppelin- infused “Widowed” offers a much needed revival, thanks to a beautifully mastered guitar solo. Furthermore, it showcases that the band is capable of restraint, making their reckless enthusiasm and thrash more effective when delivered.
Overall, fans will likely find ‘Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora’ to be the Darkest Hour’s brightest moment. Those who enjoy bands like Slayer or Lamb of God should definitely give this album a listen, as it harbors the same brutal fervor and breakneck pace. While Darkest Hour may not be breaking any new ground, the album is fresh as hell, packs a punch, and offers up the enthusiasm of a young, new band, but with the skill and musicianship of a band with over 10 years under their belt.