Sound — 8
With a band such as death metal icons Darkest Hour, it's sure a great feeling to know right away that within first listen the band is back and still keeping it metal. With much anticipation, Darkest Hour has once again stunned the metal genre, and once again they leave their mark as one of the greats in the scene. Not only has their melodies gotten stronger, but their riffs are sharper, vocals more furious, guitar solos faster and crisper, and the band has found ways to give that music an epic and moving feel. But what remains the same is the fact that they still know how to master a strong song structure, and make the most out of it. They still keep those brilliant guitar tones that have continuously evolved into what the band is now. The Eternal Return opens up with Devolution Of Flesh, and right away Darkest Hour proves that they are back with a point to prove. Massive Swedish death metal riffs are counter attacked with some dark melodies, and that hard driven stomp that they create sure unleashes a ton of power. Darkest Hour comes right back with the memorable and fist pumping anthem of No God. From its opening strums to the band breaking into some razor sharp riffs, they sure bring all sorts of hell. The verses for example give that fast tempo melodic death metal that Darkest Hour has consistently shown a mastered force at, and when the guitars harmonize, the sound really shines bright. Not to mention that their new guitarist Mike Carrigan can shred, whether it's a guitar solo or unleashing a mighty riff. As the song progresses, blistering riffs and great guitar teamwork help drive this one full force. Darkest Hour closes The Eternal Return with Into The Grey. The intro gives strong victorious notes of melody that set up the beast to be let loose and ready to destroy. Suddenly fast paced Swedish death metal riffs giving both the catch and the respectable metal feel puts the listener into instant headbanging. Into The Grey takes many turns and they really let those melodies shine, but when the razor sharp death metal riffs are let loose, the band sure shakes the ground with their presence. All in all as the band has progressed up to this date, Darkest Hour's all around approach is more than a monster. It's an influential force to be remembered.
Lyrics — 8
Vocalist John Henry's signature screams have made themselves recognizable as one of the main voices in metal, and the man continues to spread the message as if they were his last words. And he does it with such power and authority. I mean, upon hearing John Henr, you know Darkest Hour is coming. His delivery is even more furious, pissed off, and without a doubt, more determined. Lyrically, the album focuses on such subjects as life and death, but as always, Darkest Hour is helping to promote change, hope, and thinking for yourself. The Eternal Return has plenty of catchy sing along anthems that are both memorable and heavy as hell!
Overall Impression — 9
Darkest Hour has always been a band I've had the utmost respect for. Not just for sticking true to their guns since 1995, not just for consistently getting stronger after every release, but also for helping create an enormous gateway for metal bands that listeners may not have listened to if not exposed to a heavier side. On first impression, I could already tell that Darkest Hour's latest, The Eternal Return, is their strongest, heaviest, and innovative release to date. This is everything that you want to hear from Darkest Hour, plus more. With much watered down metal in today's scene, The Eternal Return is a great addition to help turn that around. And I believe this album is going to create influence, and hopefully bring the scene back to where it should be. And also keep in mind that Kris Norris is not present in The Eternal Return. It sure doesn't seem to matter, and that fact rarely crossed my mind while listening to the album from start to finish. The Eternal Return is definitely a CD to go out and buy, and Darkest Hour's future is going to continue to get stronger.