Unholy prophets and the flora of migrants
Let us know before starting this review: Darkest hour has created a formidable record worthy of praise.
Metalcore can be a dirty term sometimes these days, but when a band does the right kind, it’s pretty darn awesome. Darkest hourthe ninth studio release of Unholy prophets and migrating flora (Southern Lord) is an album that merges old and new feelings. The aggressive hardcore flow that mixes with catchy and melodic sections takes the best of both worlds. Darkest hour made a lot of leaps in the label area. It was here that they seemed to have found their best footing, building on their heavy melodies from the past and going straight to the heart of the wild delivery. Unholy prophets and migrating flora also testifies to the skills of the group over the course of his career. Taking aspects of the past to grow them or abandon them to take new paths, Darkest Hour has reached a level of heaviness they can be proud of.
One of the major factors in this job is how amazingly good it sounds. The combination of the motivation behind each individual in the band and producer Kurt Ballou makes for an exceptional and clear collection of songs that will impress fans. Travis Orbin’s drums are calculated for the right moments of superb heaviness, while Mike Carrigan and Mike Schleibaum step in with smooth, beautiful melodies to balance the relentless speed. The guitars, along with Aaron Deal’s bass work, are also responsible for powerful beats that fill with depth, developing throughout the progression of each song. It’s also worth noting that at the time, guitarist Kris Norris made a comeback to add these elements. There’s a lot going on with this album between melodies and hardcore rhythms in general, and instead of giving the impression that everything is everywhere, the music presents a band that knows how to master their craft. John Henry provides a strong overall presence in the vocals, bringing searing screams and inflections throughout his voice to balance the instrumentation. The lyricism retains an angry and poetic side, adopting an approach reflecting the current condition of humanity in the world. Unlike the band’s previous self-titled album, there’s maybe 1% clear vocals here, as well as rare moments of instrumental light. Unholy prophets and migrating flora goes for the notion of old school hardcore, with elements of death and thrash at times.
“Knife in the Safe Room” begins with an assault on the drums, followed by racing guitar rhythms and flying vocals. This breaks up to introduce a brief, more melodic section that acts as a respite, all before bringing that crazy ass solo up. “The Flesh & The Flowers of Death” comes with one of the strongest vibrations of death metal as the guitar steps back from speed and continues a haunting melody. Although the album is full of formidable heavy songs, some stand out for their more unique character. “Another Headless Ruler of the Used” begins with drums work that takes off as everyone painfully advances with a gloomy rhythm. When the band as a whole comes together for this effect, shifting to a much more groove-like aura, it adds extra excitement to the brief solo and heavy ending.
“Enter Oblivion” is the first big occasion Darkest hour takes a slower approach to one of the songs. Deep and epic, the instrumentation rings and carries weight this time around as the vocals come from afar. “The Last of the Monuments” is the only clear vocals track you’ll get from this album, and although short in duration, they work emotionally well. “In the Name of Us All” is a hardcore smile inducing bliss that can only create a ton of bruises in the pit. Coming as a Terror song, it uses moments of bottom-driven instrumentation, melodies that thread underneath and a face-tearing solo. Every now and then we also get some simple kickers that make some fun leads to get out into the pit (like “None of This is the Truth”). Here we find the level and delivery maintained to intensify the flow.
This album is full of death metal riffs, wild hardcore drumming punches, and melodic beauty, making it a formidable heavy record. Unholy prophets and migrating flora is work that looks like the good old days of exceptional hardcore that meets today’s shiny technicality and burgeoning metal. It is unlike anything that Darkest hour has already featured in their discography, and dare I say it: their best work. While moving away from the melodies and clear voices found before, Darkest hour never really let go of that presence. They sometimes seem small places, always welcoming and sufficient to please. Maybe some fans will have wished for cleaner vocals or lighter parts, but those factors don’t take away from the entire presence of this art. This record is a mixture of pleasure and diversity which is an explosion. Overall, while there are these titles that stand out a bit more than the rest, I have to say that Unholy prophets and migrating flora is wonderful as a whole. With each turn I gave, it pushed me more and more. In a way, it’s a tribute to the hardcore bands of the past and a reminder of what great music today can do for us.
Score: 9.5 / 10