Darkest Hour – Perpetual | Terminal (MNRK Music Group)

Wednesday, 14th February 2024
Rating: 8/10

Arguably one of the first metalcore acts to really dive all in on more of a European (read: Gothenburg) sound with their material, Darkest Hour have been at it for decades now. Perpetual | Terminal is their tenth album, so clearly the band has more or less honed their sound to a science. But with such dedicated time and effort, they’ve always found time to do some experiments and find ways to advance their sound. Perpetual | Terminal, in that sense, takes what Darkest Hour has always had at their metallic heart, and showcases it at their finest.

What greatly benefits Perpetual | Terminal is that there’s some absolutely raging tracks and some more melodic ones. Yeah, the usual diversity is key line but it doesn’t diminish the point. That galloping melodic death/thrash energy that Scandinavian is/was famous for, is something that Darkest Hour always used to their benefit. “Societal Bile” and “Love is Fear” are absolutely frenetic scorchers that hit the adrenaline hard and leave nothing but fury in their wake – though never at the expense of blurring the track. It’s a calculated level of aggression that comes from playing this sort of material with veteran experience. The second half of the album is where more of the melodic cuts stand out the most. The one-two combo of “New Utopian Dream” and “Mausoleum” carry this the furthest. The former laying into some heavy grooves before cutting loose the melodic ends in the chorus, whereas the latter embracing a clean, acoustic opening that gradually builds into something heavier. It’s a great palate cleanser of a track, and one that allows the foll0w-up “My Only Regret” to really shred with strong momentum, even with it’s gorgeous leadwork. The final song (“Goddess of War, Give Me Something to Die For”) successfully merges melody and aggression, with another somber opening that leads into some galloping riffs and drum battery that serves as a rather epic conclusion to the album.

Darkest Hour showcase a full album of what they do best with Perpetual | Terminal. It’s nothing outside of their usual wheelhouse but it’s honed and polished to an incredible degree, the type that’s easy to digest and enjoy. Chocked full of melodies and frantic energy, it’s something that long-time fans are truly going to enjoy. Darkest Hour continue to be one of the shining, yet somehow a bit underrated, acts of the metalcore legacy.

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