Darkest Hour 

The Eternal Return

Modern metal has become so compressed and formulaic as to require the biggest enema in the industry. The uncreative, limp way these records are recorded sucks any dynamic immediacy right off the grooves. The flatline layers of guitars and bass (when you can hear it) over constant double-kick drumming, plus an atonal yell-fest of vocals, have become ingredients checked off a list of mediocrity that may as well come from something about as threatening as a Chick-fil-A menu at the food court in the mall.

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At least Darkest Hour manages some impressive guitar work when it isn't buried under about 10 layers of identical tracks. Some sharp leads and harmony parts make the mandatory number of listens prior to an honest review at least bearable.

Not so for the vocals. They are exactly the same on every part of every song. Lacking any variation in emotion, the "anger" here is as truthful as calling the phone book literature.

There's no question these guys can play. But they need to strip it back to 16 tracks, throw out the jackass Mac-styled mixing and revisit the hardcore punks that inspired them. That should remind them that this music doesn't have to be generic.

Darkest Hour plays the Wilma Theatre Thursday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 PM with Trivium, White Chapel and Dirge Within. $22/$20 advance.

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