Review: Hero’s Last Rite – Behind the Darkest Days

Category: music 93

On their latest album, Behind the Darkest Days, Hero’s Last Rite go all-in for a deep exploration of their collective influences.

Matt Carter

Risk is one of the essential ingredients required to create meaningful art. If an artist isn’t committed to pushing boundaries and trying new things, what’s the point, really? 

On their latest album, Behind the Darkest Days, Hero’s Last Rite go all-in for a deep exploration of their collective influences. The resulting seven song album may be the band’s shortest, but length has little to do with strength when it comes to flexing metal’s might. 

From the very beginning, change is evident. The album opens with a haunting piano melody which gives way to a wealth of new sonic exploration from the group, with slower tempos and some of the band’s most dulcet compositions to date taking center stage. Vocalist Steve McDonald has dialed down his signature growl on this album exposing an entirely new range of his melodic ability. When paired with the more straight ahead rock influences that pop up throughout Behind The Darkest Days, McDonald’s approach helps to expand the sonic horizons of a band that has taken aggressive metal to its peak through its previous releases. This slight shift in direction is made all the more exciting by the complementary pairing of guitarist Mike Davidson and bassist Eric Godin, who confidently carry forward this new era in the band’s evolution following the amicable departure of co-founder/guitarist Tim Gorman in 2018. Their melodic interplay on tracks like World of Emotions and Crooked Rhythms, with its seamless 5/4 hook, reaffirm their ability to hold the band’s core firmly in place within this new four-member structure. In similar fashion, drummer Dan Rogers makes several tasteful choices on Behind The Darkest Days, showcasing his ability and understanding of metal’s varying structural demands. This album is truly a sum-of-all-parts effort. 

Reinvention isn’t an easy task for any band, especially one that has built as strong a following as Hero’s Last Rite has over its decade long tenure as one of New Brunswick’s premier metal acts. Across four full length releases beginning with 2010’s Inevitable Is The End, Hero’s Last Rite have shaped a sound that’s rich in complexity and raw in its aggression. Behind The Darkest Days expands upon this lineage, demonstrating heavy music’s limitless potential when paired with the high level of respect and curiosity musicians like McDonald, Davidson, Godin and Rogers bring to the table. 

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