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Darkest Hour - The Human Romance Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9.25
Musicianship 9.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 7.75
Creativity 8.75
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 88%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 9.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.25
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 8
Average: 84%

Darkest Hour - The Human Romance

Reviewed by: CellarGhosts (05/08/11)
Darkest Hour - The Human Romance
Record Label: E1 Music
Release Date: February 22, 2011


Okay, let's get this out of the way first thing. Yes, that's the same pair of embracing skeletons on the cover of Fall Out Boy's greatest hits album. And on the cover of the latest Tesla record as well. Not surprisingly though, The Human Romance sounds like neither of the aforementioned releases. Not that it would, as Darkest Hour aren't exactly known for summery pop-punk or AOR-radio power ballads. Instead, the Washington, D.C. unit serves up another dose of blistering melodic death metal, at once catchy and catastrophic; as accessible as it is arresting.

The seventh studio release from Darkest Hour, The Human Romance is a testament to the longevity as well as the technical prowess of the band, showcasing everything from their penchant for pulverizing riffs and manic drums to their frenetic guitar solos and pounding bass lines. John Henry's vocals are once more in top form as well. Capable of both aggressive growls and searing melodic vocals, Henry utilizes the full spectrum of his voice on this release, but never exhausts it. And while he nor the rest of the band (guitarist Mike Schleibaum, guitarist Mike "Lonestar" Carrigan, bassist Paul Burnette, drummer Ryan Parrish) may tread much new ground here, they still show no signs of slowing.

But for all its' strengths, The Human Romance is still something of a step down from their prior full length, 2008's The Eternal Return. While that album was a quick 'get in, get the job done, get out' affair, The Human Romance drags a bit in parts. Songs like "Wound" and "Violent By Nature" sound like filler (something The Eternal Return was wonderfully short on) especially when compared to neighboring standouts such as "Your Every Day Disaster" and "Severed Into Separates". But while the album may be a bit heavier on filler than recent releases, The Human Romance still offers a whole new batch of instant classics. "Love as a Weapon" is a melodic and strangely catchy track that nods to their more melodious moments on 2007's Deliver Us and the intensity of The Eternal Return simultaneously; while "Purgatory" is a relentless riff machine, mowing down the listener with jagged fretwork and explosive percussion. The band also experiments a bit more than usual here with the 8-minute instrumental track "Terra Solaris". It's a refreshing addition to the musical palette of an already diverse group of musicians.

So while it may be the weakest album of the previous four releases, The Human Romance is nonetheless a great metal record that serves as a testament to the creativity and capabilities of Darkest Hour. And though it may not be as reinvigorating as Undoing Ruin; not as vital as Deliver Us; not as to-the-point as The Eternal Return, this record still stands tall above their pre-2005 albums and is by no means a poor or even disappointing record. Darkest Hour have found their niche and have learned to stick to it without becoming redundant or sounding forced. Ultimately, The Human Romance is proof that the band is always looking for ways to grow and improve, and to do so without alienating their audience. I have every confidence that they will be able to do just that for a long time to come.

Recommended if you like:At The Gates' Slaughter of the Soul
Unearth's The Oncoming Storm
In Flames' Whoracle

http://www.myspace.com/darkesthour
 
Displaying posts 1 - 6 of 6.
02:05 PM on 05/10/11
#2
TwelveTribes230
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"The Human Romance is still something of a step down from their prior full length, 2008's The Eternal Return." really? I felt this record was a step up since The Eternal Return was pretty damn boring IMO. Not to say this one doesn't have some boring parts. I don't think either of those two records touch Deliver Us though.
10:16 PM on 05/10/11
#3
CellarGhosts
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"The Human Romance is still something of a step down from their prior full length, 2008's The Eternal Return." really? I felt this record was a step up since The Eternal Return was pretty damn boring IMO. Not to say this one doesn't have some boring parts. I don't think either of those two records touch Deliver Us though.
The Eternal Return was a huge grower for me. The first year or so it was out I really only cared much for a few tracks but the more I listened to it the more it grew on me. One thing I've really come to love about that record is the production which sounds so huge and powerful but not overdone, which I think kinda happens here.

But yeah. Deliver Us will forever be my favorite album of theirs. If not my favorite metal album ever, haha.
02:53 PM on 05/18/11
#4
PigDestroyer
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I loved Eternal Return too..."No God" and "Transcendence" for me are right up there with the best Darkest Hour songs. I don't think Human Romance is nearly as good as whole, but "Terra Solaris" is amazing, makes the whole album for me.

Also, if you don't have the Human Romance bonus track "Hierarchy of Heathens" it's worth grabbing, better than a good number of songs on the album
12:27 AM on 05/20/11
#5
CellarGhosts
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I loved Eternal Return too..."No God" and "Transcendence" for me are right up there with the best Darkest Hour songs. I don't think Human Romance is nearly as good as whole, but "Terra Solaris" is amazing, makes the whole album for me.

Also, if you don't have the Human Romance bonus track "Hierarchy of Heathens" it's worth grabbing, better than a good number of songs on the album
Glad I'm not the only one. Haha. I love that album. The production is so great. And yes, "Heiarchy of Heathens" is very solid indeed. Kinda surprised it didn't make the cut.
12:42 PM on 05/20/11
#6
PigDestroyer
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Wow, just realized I have a review on here for Deliver Us from like 5 years ago. Shit I'm old. Then again, I guess so is Darkest Hour.
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