Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora review by Darkest Hour

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  • Released: Mar 10, 2017
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.6 (21 votes)
Darkest Hour: Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora
4

Sound — 8
With their long-running stint signed to Victory Records coming to an end in 2009, Darkest Hour's recent years have been considerably nomadic, both in terms of label and style. Their first post-Victory album, 2011's "The Human Romance," sought to expand their standard melodeath sound with richer instrumentation and more melodious songwriting, with the aid of Soilwork's Peter Wichers as producer. Its gentler sections and spattering of clean vocals ended up being a precursor for their self-titled 2014 album, which aimed to pivot the band's sound into something more mainstream-friendly, but in turn, spurred outcries from long-time fans about the band going soft.

Likely being unsatisfied with the result as well, Darkest Hour's ninth album, "Godless Prophets & the Mindless Flora," abstains from the shinier demeanor of their previous album, and from having the inimitable Kurt Ballou produce the album, to reuniting with former guitarist Kris Norris for extra guitarwork, Darkest Hour make a triumphant return to their aggressive songwriting. Along with their tried-and-true melodeath dished out in "This Is the Truth," "Timeless Numbers," "Another Headless Ruler of the Used" and "Last of the Monuments," as well as a dose of blackened death metal in "The Flesh & the Flowers of Death," the band pack even more punch in the album with a notable amount of hardcore influence (chalk it up to Ballou's presence), heard in "Knife In The Saferoom," the galloping "Those Who Survived," and the feedback-obsessed "In The Name of Us All."

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As concerted of an effort it may be to make up for lost vigor, Darkest Hour don't cast away all gentler songwriting elements in "Godless Prophets..." While only a trace of clean vocals are heard from a distance in "The Last of the Monuments," and the acoustic-led interlude of "Widowed" that calls back to the similar interludes in 2007's "Deliver Us," spatial guitar breaks used in "None of This Is the Truth" and "Beneath It Sleeps" balance out their initial melodeath drive with a calmer, post-rock quality.

Lyrics — 8
Whereas frontman John Henry wrote some more emotional lyrics to go with some of Darkest Hour's less-aggressive metal songs in their previous album, Henry goes back to delivering full-scale misanthropy in "Godless Prophets..." Whether it's raging against both the church and the state's abusive influence on the world ("Drown any semblance / Of power of privilege of state / The plight of the sainthood" in "Knife In The Saferoom"; "The savage recital / Of war hymns forgotten / War pigs for profit" in "The Flesh & the Flowers of Death"; "We sacrifice to / Godless prophets / Liars entombed / Another headless ruler of the used" in "Another Headless Ruler of the Used"), or turning the criticism inwards and lamenting his own folly in "Enter Oblivion" ("I've bled my life / For foolish devotion / And foolish pride"), the miserable examination of human existence is well-worn territory for Henry and death metal en masse.

Besides that general theme of doom and gloom, a more specific theme that recurs in "Godless Prophets..." is humanity's manic fascination with discovering the unknown, regardless of the self-destructive effects. Traveling its own arc in a few songs, Henry harangues the behavior in "This Is the Truth" ("Why are we so violent / To grasp at the unknown? / Because there's so much / That we can't see"), and portrays it in a tale of forsaken exploration in "Those Who Survived" ("From the wreckage we crawled / Broken and bloodied we go on / We must move forward / We must continue into the beyond"), and finishes the album just short of resolution in "Beneath It Sleeps," where the dread felt about a doomed human existence dovetails with the hopes of a transcendental revelation ("I feel I may have finally / Cracked the code / To sustaining and maintaining / A vibrant and healthy / Human life"), but Henry's teetering epiphany cuts off at the end ("And what I've come to discover / Has been nothing more than-"), representing an unattainable ideal.

Overall Impression — 9
In their long-spanning catalog, Darkest Hour have attempted to expand from their heavy melodeath roots a number of times, though never truly being satisfied with the change. Similar to how 2009's "The Eternal Return" retreated from the prog-minded aspirations of 2007's "Deliver Us," "Godless Prophets..." is another re-appeal to the band's aggressive songwriting mindset that was backseated in their previous self-titled album, and for any metalhead who was dissatisfied with that previous album, Darkest Hour make up for it by bringing their gloriously unforgiving metal energy back in spades.

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17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    svelle
    Was wondering when a review would pop up here.  I've been listening to the album a lot ever since it came out.  Definitely a great album. Personally I'd give it a 8/10. I'd give it a 10/10 if for one it had a bit more melody at times (guess I'm one of the few who actually liked the previous album) and also if the vocals had a bit more variance, not necessarily clean vocals but some change, because If you listen through the whole album in one sitting it starts getting monotonous when you get to the middle.  Albeit that I still think it's a great album with great songs, really good songwriting and superb instrumentation. Hadn't have a chance to take a closer look at the lyrics yet, so I can't say anything about that, but I've yet to stumble on cheesy lines and I don't think I will.
    Shavyi
    Just finished my first listening. I had never heard any material of that band, and I must say that it is a solid record. Really like the blending of influences (melodic death metal, melodic metalcore, touch of thrash and black). I would have liked a couple more songs, because 45min is a little bit too short.  To me, the highlights are "The Flesh & the Flowers of Death" and "Enter Oblivion". What are the other records or the major record from that band I should listen to ? 
    martiniu
    Hi there. This answer could differ in many ways. If you're looking for more of the melodic side of the band,(which is personally my favorite side of the band) the answer would be either "Deliver Us"or "Undying Ruin". If what you're searching for is the heavier thrash style I would suggest either "Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation" or the recently remastered "The Mark of the Judas". Enjoy 🤘🏼
    Shavyi
    Well thanks ! Guess I will just end up listening to everything.
    BloodRust
    Doomsayer is the song that got me hooked on the Kris Norris era! I don't like the stuff without him 😑
    djjs
    Honestly, Undoing Ruin might be one in the top 5 of my all time favorite records, every songs on it is gold and perfect balance between melodies and aggression, definetely check it out and give it a few listen to fully let it sink in ;
    Rustylandmine
    I think it's shit. An entry level thrash idiot could write this. Their self titled album was way better. Harder to write melodic metal hooks rather than brain dead thrash music. Grow up
    zephiro989
    Not sure if trolling, or just really, really, really stupid....
    Rustylandmine
    truth hurts
    jacob911363
    And the truth is you're a terrible troll.
    Rustylandmine
    Funny, these days you can't dislike anything without being called a troll.
    Panasonic3
    I would just call you a hater. There is lots of stupid melodeath music as well. Darkest Hour was never my favorite band because they aren't musically interesting to me. That doesn't make them "immature" as you say.
    Redfinton22
    Who are you telling to grow up? Lol 
    Rustylandmine
    Thrash children that think their album is amazing but it's just the same as every other band.
    Redfinton22
    Why can't you find a more tactful way to voice your dissatisfaction? When you start off with "I think it's shit" and name call in your next sentence it's pretty hard to take you seriously