Darkest Hour – The Eternal Return

The Eternal Return is yet another whimsical metal release from those dudes in Darkest Hour. With a scintillating title that seems to tell a tale much deeper than one might suspect, the quintet relied turned to underground producer Brian McTernan to supply the beef behind the curtains.

After the 2007 release of Deliver Us, the happy go lucky Darkest Hour camp saw the sudden departure of lead guitarist Kris Norris in late 2008 shake their foundations. With such a shred-worthy release that was shipped to store shelves the year prior, it was a wonder who/where the band would turn next. Step to the plate bearded roadie-turned-guitarist Mike ‘Lonestar’ Carrigan. From here the studio time began, with Darkest Hour imprinting the melodies and moods for what would become The Eternal Return.

Followers of the band would be quick to notice the dirtier more underground approach the band took to the preparing and recording the disc, which coincidentally transcends directly into a much more raw album overall. Devoid of powerhouse producers like Devin Townsend and Fredrik Nordstrom, The Eternal Return is Darkest Hour uncut. The solos are still there, but not as long and intricate. The power is absolutely still there, but Burnette’s double bass seems less polished…something which directly complements John Henry’s thunderous scrowls. Yes, be alarmed, a change in the way a band sounds. Goodness me.

First and foremost – this is not Deliver Us. This is not Sadist Nation or Undoing Ruin. This is The Eternal Return . There are some jams flitting about the this here ten songer, but these are tracks that are something for the kids who were into the band when they first pummeled onto the scene with Victory Records. So, put your fake solo guitar fingers away and close your gaping mouth, as you’ll likely be needing to watch the growing circle pit behind you and put those neck muscles to work instead. The Eternal Return is simply a thrashy, raw, uncut release that is not your atypical Darkest Hour Gothenburg bounce. From “Black Sun” to “The Tides” – this record harks back to a very metal era. You get your flash solos, heavy undertones, and that quintessential Darkest Hour harmony. Check their MySpace for a taster.

Some might remark that Norris’ departure left a void in the band. In some cases, yes, this is true. However, Darkest Hour have turned on a sixpence to deliver a record that shows how clutch it is for a band to continue to evolve and change. Sadly, some will mark this record as the decline of the band, simply because it isn’t as orchestral as their past releases…but if you look The Eternal Return as a ‘return’ to their startup era, and follow the record through, you’ll find bits and pieces of every single release that the dudes have ever put out. It’s hopefully a ‘two songs on the setlist, max’ release, as we all like a bit of “1,000 Words…”, but “The Eternal Return” certainly offers fans a chance to reminisce. Public backing may not find it’s way to The Eternal Return , but the true worth of any band can be seen over time, and this is just a logical next step in the evolutionary process of Darkest Hour. However, when all is said and done, let’s just hope some of that melody can sneak back in on the next run round the gin mill…

RATING: 7/10
LABEL: Victory Records
WEBSITE: www.darkesthour.cc

The Eternal Return

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