Album Review: Darkest Hour – Perpetual | Terminal


Almost 30 years after their formation, the Washington, D.C. five piece—guitarist Mike Schleibaum, bassist Aaron Deal, drummer Travis Orbin, vocalist John Henry, and guitarist Nico Santora—remain strong despite the passage of time and shifting lives. Their new album, Perpetual | Terminal, out via MNRK, is blessed by the metal Gods. This is an extravagance of gutting sound that will leave you breathless. After almost a seven-year hiatus, this was worth the wait.

Their latest release is an album that defies comprehension and is a testament to their passion for music. The quintet have come full circle and are now leaving their mark on the world with their provocative and intense signature sound, unmatched by any.

Let’s dive into their realm. The album kicks off with “Perpetual | Terminal,” an epitaph that begins with the signature, melting guitar solo, and then explodes with the superior vocals by John Henry. Every member combines their blunting musical powers and envelop the soul. The 11 tracks are all distinct and there’s a new story in each one. Jump to “Societal Bile” and “A Prayer to the Holy Death.” Their grinding metal riffs and haunting vocals are telling the stories of life.

Take a step into track “One with the Void.” Henry’s vocals are melodic and this is an in-depth vocal symphony. But the track bleeds into the deep metal they are known for; this is a stunner. “Amor Fati” is an instrumental masterpiece. “Mausoleum” begins as an acoustic ballad about hate and violence and the darkness in the world. Then, with blasts of scorching metal, the blend of music is unseen. The stunner “Goddess of War, Give Me Something to Die For” is a subtle acoustic at the beginning, and jolts straight into the metal deathcore angst that’s just perfectly executed.

Check out “Perpetual | Terminal” video below.

Mike expressed, “To us, the song ‘Perpetual |Terminal’ could be an entire Darkest Hour album in one track. By zeroing in our story, it sets the tone for the whole album in a perfect right way. The same themes of death, rebirth, and survival, while told from different perspectives of our story, stretch across the entire record. Among all of this, a love story hides, dedicated to those who have survived this ride and those who have been there to carry us when we could barely move. To me it really screams, you don’t have to abandon everything to reinvent yourself, and you don’t have to exists exist within the role you or even the outside world has defined.”

“I hope Perpetual | Terminal reaches enough people that it becomes immortal to them in the way our other records have,” he adds. “As much as this one is our story, it belongs to every listener now. We have dedicated our lives to this because it is nothing short of a privilege to travel the world, create art, and connect with fellow lovers of metal. We tell everyone and anyone who will listen, Go follow your fucking dream. Find life and live it till the wheels fall off. We founded this band and this dream so many years ago on this simple foundation, and I can’t imagine anything better than being able to continue making music with my friends.”

This is their best work yet, and an undeniable presence of the deepest music I have experienced in a long time.

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