DARKEST HOUR took a big step forward with "Undoing Ruin", retaining much of the AT THE GATES-style thrash/death galloping heard on "Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation" and broadening its arrangements to include more melody and an expansive sound thanks to producer Devin Townsend. The result made them, in my opinion, one of the best acts on the Victory roster, and an album that many felt was one of the year's strongest. On "Deliver Us", DARKEST HOUR continues in a manner similar to what is heard on its predecessor, though not quite matching its excellence.Does that mean that "Deliver Us" is not a worthy follow up? Absolutely not. It is another solid album from the band, even if there are no truly outstanding tracks. While the band has not made the leap forward heard from "Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation" to "Undoing Ruin", the new long player is still a quality affair. Devin Townsend's production once again harnesses the group's power, offering a tight rhythm section sound in which the bass can be heard, and a guitar sound that will be recognizable as distinctly Townsend; not only the riffs and solos, but also the nuances are brought out nicely. Though in a few parts you'll wonder if the sounds/atmospherics created (listen to interlude "The Light at the Edge of the World") come from a keyboard, the act makes it clear in the liner notes that "No keyboards were used on this album". Several tracks feature the now familiar DARKEST HOUR furious gallop injected with melodic guitar lines, as "Doomsayer (The Beginning of the End)", the very aggressive "Stand and Receive Your Judgment", and "Fire in the Skies" demonstrate. The melodies are there, but not in a way that grabs you by the throat. Rather, it is on "Demon(s)", "Sanctuary", and "Tunguska" (with some well-placed acoustic guitar parts) where the band employees some clean (at times kind of a semi-shout), though not crooning by any stretch, vocals during the choruses, the result enhancing the songs' melodies. Chances are that if you liked "Undoing Ruin" that you will also like "Deliver Us". I don't find the band's fifth release to have the same impact as "Undoing Ruin", mainly because of the aforementioned lack of stand-out tracks, but that does not mean that it is not a strong effort in its own right. If nothing else, DARKEST HOUR is consistent.
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