American metal band, Darkest Hour, have been out on the road around Europe throughout April as main support for the thrash band, Havok. Their one and only stop within England brings them to The Underworld in Camden on a Monday night.
The band are out promoting 2017’s release, Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora. A wonderfully heavy album which contains the excellent single, Those Who Survived. You can read our thoughts on that here. Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora was released back in March 2017 via Southern Lord. It is still a popular record today based on the reactions of most of The Underground to seeing the band play.
Darkest Hour take to the stage at around 08:30. In the same way that Havok do later, they also have a song played through the speakers before they come on. Played at full volume, with the main lights off but stage lights flashing, it looks like part of the set. Keep in mind that a lot of people have come out to see Havok, an old school sounding thrash band. There are a lot of the older generation in the crowd and battle jackets everywhere. One of the funniest things you could have seen on the night was the look of disgust on many of the faces when that song, The Next Episode by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (or D, O, Double G if you prefer). A strange choice indeed.
Darkest Hour are a five piece so are pretty squashed in as they take to the small Underworld stage. It is nice to see the band all come out with huge grins on their face. Despite this being their 17th show in around 19 days all over Europe they look pumped and like they are enjoying themselves. That sort of charisma is infectious to a watching crowd and the rap song is quickly forgotten.
Darkest Hour have really drawn the fans in. The top and bottom parts of The Underworld are both packed with eager onlookers as the band jump straight into the opening track from Godless Prophets, Knife in the Safe Room. It is a heavy start and Travis Orbin’s drums are absolutely pounding, making the room vibrate dramatically. Long term fans of the band get a treat next with a look back all the way to 2005’s album Undoing Ruin and the track Convalescence. The pit swells as a mass of writhing bodies throw themselves into the music. The sound is really immense tonight. The venue have done a great job. The guitars really ring out, especially in the melodic phases.
Doomsayer (The Ed of the Beginning) comes next and keeps the intensity at a high level. The pit is circling chaotically while it tries to avoid the irritating pillars that dapple The Underworld. It is great watching Darkest Hour on stage. They have very little room but are jumping about, full of energy and enthusiasm. Frontman John Henry only stops smiling to roar and bellow out ear splitting vocals.
An Epitaph, from 2001’s So Sedated, So Secure is followed by Violent by Nature before the band get a well deserved breather as Widowed, a 90 second instrumental is played out on tape. That brief respite ends with the excellent Those Who Survived which tears the room a new one both from volume and sheer brutality. John Henry has a brief chat with us after that song referencing some of the recent disappointing news about heavy metal bands and alleged connections to Nazism. It introduces a cover version of the punk track, Nazi Punks Fuck Off, by Dead Kennedys. It is well received and played at brutal speed with the whole crowd joining in for the “Fuck Off” bit.
Back to their own music as With a Thousand Words to say but One before the band end with The Sadist Nation. By the time Darkest Hour are finished their set, it is hard to believe you were watching a support band. They sound amazing, they have a 25 year history of releases and bring a phenomenal amount of energy, enthusiasm and presence to the show. These guys probably should have been headlining, with no disrespect meant to Havok.
Havok certainly do there part in making the show and arguing why they should be headlining in their set that followed and you can read about that here.
There are still a date or two available on this tour cycle so why not try to get down to a show? You wont be disappointed. Visit here for dates and tickets. Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora is available on all the usual streaming services. You can also pick up a physical copy from Southern Lord here. Finally, you can grab this album and more from the band at the Amazon links below. Find out more on Darkest Hour at their website, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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Darkest Hour at The Underworld, London (23/04/2018)
The Final Score - 9/10