While it may have fallen short of the preposterous label hype that preceded it, Darkest Hour's 2005 outing "Undoing Ruin" did cement itself as the bands high watermark in the eyes of many. No doubt the group were aware of this when they made the decision to once again team up with producer Devin Townsend on "Deliver Us"; their latest slab of melodic Swedish death metal meets gnarled American metal.
However, despite the obvious circumstances "Deliver Us" is not a sequel to "Undoing Ruin". There has always been a progressive arc to the Darkest Hour discography and "Deliver Us" continues the follow the path. In turn, where "Undoing Ruin" focused more on unbridled rage and disturbing intensity "Deliver Us" instead veers toward atmospheric density and melody.
Thick and murky, the harmonic screeches and squeals the band create on this effort add greatly to the focused songwriting. No longer as sinewy, there is a pronounced muscular development to the material and while that does reduce its urgency in a sense, it still gives the listener a lot to chew on. Perhaps the experimentation with noise and effects is what sets this album apart most though - so much so that the band clarify in the insert that no keyboards were used. It's not like Tom Morello joined the band though as riffs still reign supreme with superb guitar heroics and a hulking rhythm section.
Still, while the band have moved forward once again, there is a rather large stumble taken with the lack of memorable songs. Aside from "Demon(s)" large chorus, not much remains afterward sans a few rather impressive wrenched guitar notes. The vocals also seem to come off a bit low in the mix as well - which may be why the songs seem to have all of the bands trademarks, but few distinct characteristics. Regardless, the Darkest Hour pedigree is in place and this album does deliver - just not in the way many had expected.
(3.5 / 5)