It was nearly two years ago that I was officially introduced to Darkest Hour and their brand of aggressive and melodic metal-core. It feels like forever ago, despite being well into the metal-core cycle and a full four albums into the band's run. I liked the album but felt it fell just shy of being something particularly great. There was a lot to like, and I do like them, but I felt there was something missing. Do they find that nebulous something on The Eternal Return? Sort of. I think it is a better album, but there is something about them that fails to completely hook me. I wish I knew what it was.
At first, The Eternal Return feels and sounds like more of the same. It is a sound and feel that I find easy to get into. Despite the lack of that "big hit" type song that I can sometimes be affected by, this is a very easy album to get hooked by. The music is heavy and catchy and you will want to bang your head. On the other hand, however, it is relentlessly depressing. This is a dark, dismal, and apocalyptic album. That is saying something after how dark Deliver Us was.
This latest album gets off to a roaring start with "Devolution of Flesh." The song begins with the fateful words "This is the end of a sickening tale." Interesting choice, it seems to mark a change in path, leaving behind the old ways for something new. Of course, I could just be reading into it a little too much, which is probably the likelier option. Combine this charge for change with the fact that this album is so reminiscent to Deliver Us and then the meaning behind the new album's title. It definitely makes one wonder how much research was made during the album's naming process.
"Eternal return" is a theory the universe keeps recurring and will continue to do so in a similar fashion to what is here now. The concept has been taken so far as to be applied all the way down to the level of the individual, suggesting that people will continue to do the same things in the same order and not by reincarnation, but in the same bodies, where life is cyclical and not linear. Interesting, no?