Formed in 1995, Darkest Hour have shifted through a number of genres over the years and are currently settled on a mixture of hardcore, death metal and punk. Since the release of last year’s fifth album, 'Deliver Us', they’ve been blazing a trail across the globe and Cambridge’s tiny Barfly venue is the lucky recipient of their monstrous sound tonight.
The stage is smothered in smoking dry ice and the band coughs their way through whilst simultaneously launching into the anthemic 'Doomsayer'. Looking something akin to a metal Jon Bon Jovi, vocalist, John Henry, is up on the amps bellowing at the crowd with Paul Burnette not far behind, vertically raising his bass so we can worship it. Somewhere amidst the gloom is drummer, Ryan Parrish, pummelling away at his double-kick - the whole heady mix hits us like a speeding train.
These guys mean business and they follow up with 'Demon(s)', a beacon amidst the gloom as Kris Norris, with snake tattoos winding round his middle digits, blazes out some monumental shredding that Mike Schleibaum riffs with across the stage. Only as the mist finally clears do we spot the incredible artwork of Baroness’ vocalist John Baizley. As well as the impressive backdrop he’s obviously been let loose on Burnette’s bass guitar – perhaps that’s why he’s been so keen to show us it.
The crowd, a real mixture of emo haircuts, bag-clutchers and headbanging metallers, are lapping it up. Their attempts at a circle pit, when Henry calls for one, leave a little to be desired. It quickly descends into a push-fest to see who’s drunkest. As they start playing the older material, 'Accessible Losses' gets quite the cheer, the strobes kick off and the dry ice is booted back up to invisible levels. Drummer Parrish, blind from the smokescreen, decides to go for a wander and stalks the crowd coaxing them to clap the beat out for him. In tiny yellow shorts he decides to take out his frustrations on the Barfly’s unfortunate central pillar, which has been blocking his view throughout, by trying to impregnate it before returning to his kit to beat out the remnants of the new album’s awesome title-track, 'Deliver Us', and leave us all gasping for air. The darkest hour approaches and we filter out exhausted, but utterly exhilarated.
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