Calling Darkest Hour metalcore isn't entirely inaccurate — the band are influenced by hardcore, after all — but as practitioners of the genre have fallen further and further into self-parody, the term has become one of derision.
Darkest Hour are bringing pride back to metalcore, though. While their melodeath-leaning metalcore peers and descendants ripped off rip-offs, the band loved the genre so much they flew to Sweden to record with At the Gates producer Fredrik Nordström for 2003's Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation, even having two members of the soul-slaughtering legends appear on the album; and while their hardcore peers relied too much on breakdowns, the Darkest Hour employed the genre's fervour, rather than reducing it to chugs.
Both genres are present in spades on Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora, their ninth album. That it's their first manned by Converge's Kurt Ballou and released by Southern Lord is a sign that their melodic metalcore experiment on 2014's self-titled effort was just that — an isolated experiment. That fact was further consolidated by first single "Knife in the Safe Room," a relentless thrashing number that found Darkest Hour dropping the gloves.
They maintain ferocity throughout the album. Track two, "This Is the Truth," gallops throughout but periodically ups the fury with double-time beats, while its companion piece, "None of This Is the Truth," rages similarly. If "Beneath It Sleeps" sounds the most like mid-period Darkest Hour (read: the Kris Norris period), that's because it kind of is; the band brought the ex-shredder to collaborate and this song, which sounds like it could be a leftover from the Undoing Ruin or Deliver Us sessions (that's a compliment), is the result.
All of which is to say that Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora is the best Darkest Hour since those two albums, and positions the band well to lead the melodeath-inflected metalcore rebirth that, if the revival of its more chaotic precursor is any indication, might be just around the corner. (Southern Lord)