Sunday, February 20 2011 00:00


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61pFgmq577L. SL160 From the moment I laid eyes on the morbidly beautiful cover for THE HUMAN ROMANCE, the seventh studio album from Washington D.C.'s DARKEST HOUR, I was intrigued. A fan of their earlier work beginning with SO SEDATED, SO SECURE (2001), and following them through HIDDEN HANDS OF A SADIST NATION (2003) and UNDOING RUIN (2005), I'd actually given up on the band, skipping their last two albums as I felt that with UNDOING, they'd fallen into the same "metalcore" trappings as many of their peers - it all sounded the same. Based on cover art alone, I was ready to give the band another chance.

THE HUMAN ROMANCE presents a band that is much improved in the six years since we last met. Having skipped their 2007 and 2009 releases, I now feel as though I've missed out on their growth, as their latest offering is a solid display of quality musicianship, though the songwriting can lack at times.

Tracks like "The World Engulfed in Flames, "Savor the Kill," and "Love as a Weapon" show what the band can do when they're at their best. Interesting structures with intricate soloing and space for all instruments to breathe beneath the raspy wail of vocalist JOHN HENRY (who seems to channel a bit of KILLING JOKE frontman Jaz Coleman on "Savor").

The downside is that DARKEST HOUR still have a habit of tossing in some filler here and there such as "Your Every Day Disaster," which finds the drums about as basic as you can get, while the guitarists hit back-and-forth notes on the fretboard with speed in mind and creativity left for the solos.

Overall, THE HUMAN ROMANCE is a solid effort in a still-cluttered genre. A good album for 2011, but staying power will be left for time to determine.

Rating: 3.5/5

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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