"Darkest Hour prove again why those in the know believe they are one of metal’s greatest secrets." Perpetual | Terminal shows why Darkest Hour might just be metal's most underrated band

Darkest Hour have put together another pulsating collection of metalcore bangers

Darkest Hour
(Image: © Mary Lou Larson)

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Next year will mark a full three decades as an active band for Washington DC’s cult metallic hardcore heroes Darkest Hour. During that time, they have created a pretty compelling argument for being the most underrated and under-appreciated band from that early 2000s, Killswitch Engage-led, metalcore boom. We’re now 10 albums in and the quintet are still full of the pace, ingenuity and spite that has made each of their albums such a pleasure.

Save for the excellent, acoustic opening to the Blind Melon-esque Mausoleum, there’s really nothing new or explorative on Perpetual | Terminal. But when you are as good at filtering classic thrash and melodic death metal through a punk rock framework as this band are, it doesn’t matter one jot. The two-stepping rhythms and warp-speed riffing that open Societal Bile and Love Is Fear or the Integrity-meets-At The Gates melodic brutality of New Utopian Dream might seem like easy tropes to rely on, but in the hands of Darkest Hour they sound absolutely box-fresh and essential.

Darkest Hour have never truly received the accolades their work deserves, and there’s clearly still a level of hunger and desire to prove themselves that some of their more commercially lauded peers have long since lost. Credit for that should go, in particular, to the two remaining original members – vocalist John Henry sounds vicious and urgent throughout, and guitarist Mike Schleibaum has once again packed an entire career’s worth of great riffs and leads into a single album. That’s not to downplay the contribution of the rest of the band; seldom have a collective of this vintage sounded as tight and in sync as DA do on the pulverising The Nihilist Undone, or on the chaotic old-school hardcore and gang vocal-led My Only Regret. Seven years since the equally excellent Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora, Darkest Hour prove again why those in the know believe they are one of metal’s greatest secrets.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.