Sound — 9
Since the mid 90's Darkest Hour has been one of the few bands out there to deliver a solid combination of power driven aggressiveness and deep melodic emotions. Their eight studio album, "The Human Romance", while seemingly classic and a little redundant on the first listen, their latest effort will keep you awake at night and headbanging at day. Overall, you'll realize that Darkest Hour is still in touch with their unique sounding guitar shreds and that while it is not as dominating as in their previous releases, the melody and adrenaline it brings to the general sound of the album makes it all very organic, with riffs complementing every songs very well, while being pretty repetitive at some point. On the other hand, the highlight of the album is the relentless groove brought by drummer Ryan Perish. Fast pace beats, energetic fills and crazy solos in songs like "Savor The Kill" and "Terra Solaris" will amaze you at every Single listen and keep you banging your head. Both fresh and inspirational, any drummer out there should give it a listen.
Lyrics — 9
John Henry delivers his usual vocal expertise: emotional yet horrifyingly aggressive, and while it is pretty much what you would expect, he always finds a Way to go past the limits and deliver a perfect scream. If you ask me one of the most unique and expressive vocals in modern metal, and while most wouldn't understand a thing of his singing, with due time (and the lyrics), I grew to really dig his vocal mastery and especially his lyrics: 01. "Terra Nocturnus" - Slow, clean instrumental opening, not much to say it's just... A perfect prelude? 02. "The World Engulfed In Flames" - Great classy intro, blazzing riffs following, a catchy chorus... Good choice for an opener, but the lyrics are really "Deja vu", since it talks about the end of the world. Yet you will fing great lines and rimes nothing quite like any other song like that, and it's a great song altogether. 03. "Savor The Kill" - First single, All you would expect. Great solo and amazing drums. Extremely deep lyrics about human nature. A must. 04. "Man And Swine" - My favorite: heavy as f***, fast as sh**. Great lyrics you get what it talks about from the title. Very straight going while kinda emotional. And a pretty unique composition. 05. "Love As A Weapon" - Slow and sentimental, another song about human nature. If you feel blue, listen to it next to a window. Great song, with great riffs, but lacks a little something I can't put my finger on. Still, gotta love it. 06. "Your Everyday Disaster" - Bah... Aggressive... Good but I don't like it and I think it's because the riffs are pretty repetitive. I don't like the "solo" either... It's good, but I don't like it. 07. "Violent By Nature" - And we're back! If you just feel like a fast quick song to get your heat out, this song is a perfect choice. Oh, it talks about human nature but... You knew that. 08. "Purgatory" - I really don't like the intro and the main riff that much but it makes it up in the whole. Not an highlight but great lyrics and a killer chorus. 09. "Severed Into Separates" - I really dig the lyrics to this song. The solo is a pretty good one too but it lacks some energy and doesn't really had anything. Either way you'll surely like the main riff and the chorus. Not unique but very good. 10. "Wound" - Really this one is a great piece of art. Both guitar, drums and vocals give something quite unique to the lyric's poetry. "You've got the head of a king, on the body of a pawn". A highlight. 11. "Terra Solaris" - Long, instrumental, and awesome. I don't feel the need to describe it, this song is worth twice the album's price by itself. 12. "Beyond The Life You Know" - Personally I found it disappointing, probably because I always expect the last song to be the best and in that case "Terra Solaris" was way too good... Still I learned to love it but not dig it. Deceiving title though.
Overall Impression — 10
For a Darkest Hour album it sure stands out. It's different but far from groundbreaking, and while the first listen was hard for me, because my expectation were a lot different, I really understood that this album was a pure work of art, and while some of the song I like less, they're are still better than most of what comes out these days. All in all, this album kicks a-s, and while it can be perceived differently by everyone, it is a great trip inside the human mind.