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Darkest Hour / Himsa / A Life Once Lost

Darkest Hour / Himsa / A Life Once Lost: live in Portlandlive in Portland (2006)
Victory Records

Reviewer Rating: 3


Contributed by: colincolin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I wasn't supposed to go to this show. This review was actually going to be for Anti-Flag and Smoke or Fire, who were playing the same night across town. The only problem with that was when I drove up to the Loveland, there were leather-clad mohawked teenagers wrapped well around the block an hour af.


I wasn't supposed to go to this show. This review was actually going to be for Anti-Flag and Smoke or Fire, who were playing the same night across town. The only problem with that was when I drove up to the Loveland, there were leather-clad mohawked teenagers wrapped well around the block an hour after doors opened; the show had long since sold out, and there was no way I was going to miss three bands waiting to see if I could get in to Anti-Flag. Darkest Hour was playing not too far away, and I'd never seen them live. The biggest issue was that they were headlining a metal show.

The problem with me going to metal shows is, well, I don't really like metal. Darkest Hour is one of those bands that just is an exception, with their attention to harmony and melody taking precedence to, well, unending noise. I got to the venue just in time to see the Acacia Stain take the stage, who were really good at being pretty annoying. The music was long and generic, and the lead singer would do a half-jig whenever the drumbeat hit a moshing / jumping pace. One of the guitarists reminded me of Vin Diesel, and he was concentrating more on flexing his biceps and giving, "I'm so fucking pumped!" facial expressions than he was on being involved in the music. The set was delivered without error; it was just unengaging and incredibly similiar song-to-song.

A Life Once Lost came on next, the lead singer looking suspciously like Ryan Dunn from Jackass. They were able to capture my attention a bit more than Acacia Stain, but for the most part faltered for the same reason the previous band (and most metal for me) did: They lacked anything other than double-bass kicks, a few well-played guitar solos, and extended monosyllabic screams. The overzealous use of the fog machine certainly didn't help their case, either. A bit more impressive, and they were certainly in to the music they were playing, driving through each song with excessive headbanging and attitude, but it still was, well, just another metal band.

Himsa came on next to a vast uproar. I'd never heard them, and I must admit, they were pretty fucking good. However, their most impressive offer was their guitarist's hair; the dude has a mane bigger than I'd imagine a lions would be. Absolutely insane. The guy from Coheed and Cambria is envious. Anyway, Himsa was far superior to the two prior bands, offering a bit of melody during their songs, interchanging guitar parts, and even daring to not use the double bass at all times (which it must be tempting to do, since their drummer had two bass drums). One song that struck me more than most was "Dominion," which was the third song played. After that the band even picked up more speed, and the songs seemed to get better and less monotonous. While I won't be going out and calling myself a fan of Himsa, they certainly made the evening more enjoyable.

Darkest Hour came out to, what seemed to be, less applause than Himsa. With bands like this I always wonder if they'll be able to match the intensity they can deliver through a record, and they didn't fail to. While most of the set was new material from Undoing Ruin, they still played a couple old tunes ("Accessible Losses" and "The Sadist Nation") and a couple of really old ones ("An Epitaph" and "So Sedated, So Secure"). Closing with "The Sadist Nation," the lead singer brought a single drum on to the stage to play along, eventually handing it down into the crowd for them to play, a move I'd never seen before and wondered how smart it is to put a drum into a crowd, but to each their own.

So, was it worth it? Probably. I would have liked to have seen Anti-Flag, but Darkest Hour put on a hell of an energetic performance and were spot on at nailing each and every note, translating the crescendos built so well (especially during "Accessible Losses" and "With a Thousand Words to Say But One") on record into a cathartic performance. The mood was overwhelmingly positive throughout the show, which was pretty cool; with the massive ammounts of stagediving going on, people took care of one another and anyone who was starting trouble was immediately taken to the door.

I grabbed the set list from the stage after taking some photos, and so this is straight from that:

  • With a Thousand Words to Say But One
  • An Epitaph
  • Sound the Surrender
  • So Sedated, So Secure
  • District Divided
  • Accessible Losses
  • Tranquil
  • The Sadist Nation
I wasn't thrilled with the seemingly short set; I would have liked to hear another song or two, especially from Hidden Hands..., but you can't get everything you want these days. I will say that trading a crowd focused on image (with mowhawks and denim) for one focused on image (biceps and running into shit) wasn't the best trade-off, and being the tall skinny dude in a room filled with guys who look like they stopped by after leaving the gym isn't the best for enjoying your company. If you're into metal at all, this seems like a tour for you. If you're like me and are a bit more...selective...about the excessively loud music that graces your stereo, Darkest Hour is a great live band, but don't feel like you missed much if you show up late.

 


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
tylerdurden8136 (March 31, 2006)

go kill yourself, colin.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (March 25, 2006)

The score is for colin not clinging to ALOL's balls.

Anonymous (March 24, 2006)

fuck metalcore, fuck antiflag...i want negative approach

LeightonESmith (March 23, 2006)

i'm wasted
on a side note, i'd give my balls to see himsa and darkest hour. lucky bastards.......
FUCK ANTIFLAG. seriously. Like good punk please. whoopeefuckindo
did you really want to line up with the poseur brigade?
On a side note: some people actually appreciate this genre of music. I would have been bummed to fly to America to have Hellfest cancelled, thats just me. I like punk AND other music.
I could write a better review.

Dear Punknews,
In future please don't let diehard punk try hards and folk music listening to freaks (sorry matt) review metalcore albums and shows. Lucky you got the set list mate because YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE
This bias and lack of knowledge/appreciation about the subject matter is starting to piss me off.

cathardic 6 out of 10!!!!!!???????????????????????

Anonymous (March 23, 2006)

shitty bands

burningfeeetman (March 22, 2006)

Himsa and Darkest Hour are fucking awesome.

I missed this when it came around me though, how shitty is that?

mikeinflames (March 22, 2006)

shit
that should say anything ... not nothing

mikeinflames (March 22, 2006)

unless you're listening to a lot of meshuggah and coalesce ... alol are nothing but generic

colin (March 21, 2006)

did i not say right off the bat that i wasn't going to go to the show, i didn't like most metal, and i find a lot of it incredibly generic?

i could see some facets of himsa being unique, but a life once lost was totally standard metal sounding.

elliot (March 21, 2006)

reviewer doesn't know anything about what he's reviewing. i'd say that's a problem.

mikeinflames (March 21, 2006)

there is nothing generic about himsa or alol
both of those bands are amazing and at the top of thier game

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

I saw this show in richmond, during a life once lost's set, randy from lamb of god came on stage and did guest vocals. Darkest Hour also did a 14 min long instramental encoure, then 4 more songs. It was pretty kick ass

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

metal still sucks ass

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

Himsa Effing Rawks! I love Them Love Ya Later Skaters

colin (March 21, 2006)

i like how you were going to see anti-flag, perhaps the epitome of watered-down and cliche punk rock (ie "just another punk band") yet critisize bands here for being "just another metal band". as though it were acceptable to be generic punk but not generic metal (which by the way, ALOL is not).

i have never seen anti-flag, and the music they play would be fun to see live. i probably could have stuck around to try and get in to the venue, but i was going to that show for smoke or fire primarily, who i would have missed, which is why i went to see darkest hour.

i realize that anti-flag is just another punk band, but within the entirety of punk they've been able to give themselves a distinct sound, while only himsa was able to distinguish themselves beyond anything i could characterize as generic.

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

i like how you were going to see anti-flag, perhaps the epitome of watered-down and cliche punk rock (ie "just another punk band") yet critisize bands here for being "just another metal band". as though it were acceptable to be generic punk but not generic metal (which by the way, ALOL is not).

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

metal sucks

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

Darkest Hour are fucking awesome live, but that is a hella short set list. I mean, shit, at least here they also played These Fevered Times and a couple of others.

joeg (March 21, 2006)

darkest hour is awesome live. definitely go see them if you get the chance.

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

i wouldnt mind seein darkest hour live, its just i dont want to sit through 3 shitty bands to get to them, maybe if alol only played songs from open your mouths for the speechless it would have been a diffrent story, hopefully next tour they will bring some better bands im low on the cash so its gotta be a hell of a line up for me to go

jamespastepunk (March 21, 2006)

I've missed Darkest Hour at least three different times. I swear, I'll catch their live show sometime soon.

Cheesetits (March 21, 2006)

I just went to this show last night in Seattle. It obviously sounds exactly the same, except Himsa was the headliner and they played to a home crowd and came out in sweet knight costumes. But Darkest Hour definitely stole the show, short set or not.

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