Darkest Hour

Archives

Written by: PP on 01/11/2006 18:16:11

Considering how Darkest Hour's "Undoing Ruin" was probably the best album of the decade when it was released last year, it is only appropriate that we start digging around the past of the band who has been around significantly longer than most people realize. The cleverly titled "Archives" contains their two out of print first EPs "The Prophecy Fulfilled" and "The Misantrophe" reissued and remastered alongside rarities and alternate versions of tracks, but quite frankly, it all sounds like shit. The remastering process isn't able to rectify these over ten years old recordings, which suffered from a lack of budget as well as from the inexperience of the guys together as a band.

The basics are all there, though. It is still easy to distinguish Darkest Hour from the messy sound, but several elements that made their last two or three albums so fantastic are missing. There aren't many dual-guitar harmonies or innovative solos. John's vocals are far from the clear melodic shrieks they are today, and instead sound more like he is still trying to find his sound and is experimenting with different styles. This is especially evident when comparing the clearer growls of "This Side Of The Nightmare" to the obscure, extremely low ones on "The Choif Of The Prophecy Fulfilled".

The songs also lack the melody-against-thrash feature almost completely. Forget about being labeled as melodic hardcore, this is hardcore in its most obscure, least appealing form, where no other attention is paid to the music except "who can make the most noise fastest and most unorganized manner". Now, there are bands who are fantastic at this (just listen to anything recorded by Converge), but Darkest Hour isn't one of them. To some extent it is understandable, as they were still in the earliest stages of their career, and the evolution that started from these EPs through the later albums is clearly visible.

To be perfectly honest, Darkest Hour didn't get good before they released "So Sedated, So Secure", and didn't get fantastic before "Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation", and certainly not genre-defining and into the 'best album of the decade' category before "Undoing Ruin". Therefore, it makes little sense for people to buy this reprint, unless you are dying to hear how the band started, and effectively, "Archives" portrays the beginning of the band perfectly - there are some songs that are great here but suffer from the lack of vocal development and the horrible, low-budget production. Nevertheless, most of the songs aren't worth paying the full price for other than the die-hard fans who must own everything Darkest Hour has ever made.

4

Download: The Choir Of The Prophecy Fulfilled, This Curse
For the fans of: Darkest Hour
Listen: Myspace

Release date 03.10.2006
A-F Records

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