REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/28/2007
Heavy metal can be intelligent and full of musicianship and I don't hear it, consistently, on this release. And in keeping with another trend, most of the vocals here are yelled or screamed, which often belies a lack of talent. Finally, with the blasted beats and unimpressive riffs all over the place, Deliver Us is really not worth the time.
While opener "Doomsayer and the Beginnings of the End" has a lot of frantic music, there are not a lot of original ideas. The blast beat from drummer Ryan Parrish is repetitive and guitarists Mike Scheibaum and Kris Norris don’t pave a lot of new ground with their riffs. Vocalist John Henry yells a lot and reminds me of Lamb of God's Randy Blythe, and altogether this is a rather unsuccessful opening track, save for the here.
"Sanctuary" is more chug-ga chug-ga chug-ga blast beats from Parrish, overusing a boring beat that is too common. Henry's voice remains annoying until about a minute in when he actually sings decent lyrics: "If you can hear me / come and let me out / or at least break me out / give me sanctuary." He then toggles back into his yelling. "Demon(s)" is Henry's best vocal performance and the music changes feels and tempos throughout; this and "A Paradox with Flies"are the best sequence on the disc.
"Fire in the Skies" is another rare highlight, with some better riffs that don't rely on playing as many notes as fast as possible, while "Full Imperial Collapse" features a couple of amazingly dizzying guitar solos, allowing Parrish to pick up the changes in the guitar's texture and mimic them with his instrument. Of course, the band then ruins the goodwill with the title track, which is back to the blast beats and uninteresting riffs that plagued the first two tracks.
Despite the press and the reportedly scorching live performances, Darkest Hour doesn’t live up to its promise. It's frustrating because this band can obviously play, but ultimately they rely on music that other bands have played instead of expanding the genre in any noteworthy ways.