By Dan Perretta
Ladies and gentlemen, I sincerely hope you have your best metal face and neck brace ready because the newest offering from Darkest Hour is a complete and total trip down Head Banging lane on your way to Neck-Crush City.
Darkest Hour’s “Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora” started as a crowd-funded DIY effort from the veteran metal band, and as a contributor to the campaign, I can honestly say this album is everything I wanted and more. This is the Darkest Hour album I have been waiting for since “Undoing Ruin.” Not to say everything the band has produce since then has been bad, but “Godless Prophets” encapsulates what I believe the band is truly capable of accomplishing.
Darkest Hour exceeded their goal and took that money straight to the right person, Kurt Ballou at God City Studios. Kurt has this amazing ability to make whatever album he is working on sound organic and natural, so when I heard he was tapped to record and produce this record I knew we were in for something amazing and heavy. The recording does not disappoint. It is well mixed and I never felt like one instrument drowned the rest. Everything comes at you like you are attending a live show where the acoustics are great and the sound engineer is on the top of his game.
It is obvious that Darkest Hour spent a lot of time and energy writing and rewriting the music for this album. It plays perfect from beginning to end. I never once felt bored listening to it and did not feel there were any lulls. The whole album is intriguing and each track has something to offer. I know a lot of people like to say an album is heavy. It is certainly an over-used term, but I feel like “Godless Prophets” has an actual weight. The album cannot be lifted. The opening track, “Knife in the Safe Room,” sets the tone for the whole album and lets you know you are about to set an appointment with your chiropractor after you finish listening. Most of the songs on “Godless Prophets” will make you want to continually slam your fist against the steering wheel, table, or any other object near you. As a matter of fact, you should probably ensure that all humans, pets, or valuables are near you during the first listen.
The riffs are tight and memorable, especially in tracks like “Timeless Numbers” and “Beneath it Sleeps.” Mike Scheilbaum and Lonestar continue to mesh really well together with Mike’s ability to craft some truly awesome guitar parts reminiscent of the Swedish melodic death metal of yore and Lonstar’s ability to throw leads at you Dimebag Darrell would most certainly be proud to hear. Although you can hear a lot of Darkest Hour’s various influences, not once does it ever feel derivative or stolen, it all feels fresh and new. The rhythm section is as on point as ever and really contributes to the overall feel of the album. Aaron Deal holds it down on bass ensuring nothing is lost from the heavy riffage. Travis Orbin continues to be one of my favorite drummers. He does not rely on the double bass to make sure you know it is heavy metal, his technique and rhythms do all of that for him. The vocals have an emotion and drive that only John Henry has been able to deliver for the past 20+ years. I cannot emphasize enough how cohesive and complete this album sounds.
If you fell off the Darkest Hour train anytime after “Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation,” now would be the time to hop back on it. Darkest Hour – “Godless Prophets & The Migrant” Flora will be out March 10th, 2017 and is available for pre-order via Southern Lord, Bandcamp, Amazon, and iTunes.