This past weekend Alex Gohl and I went back to good ol’ American hardcore with veterans Darkest Hour. Their unique blend of hardcore and punk has caught the eye of many people as of late. With their brand new album out entitled The Eternal Return wowing critics and fans alike this group is proving they deserve to be in the spotlight. I sat down with their drummer, Ryan, at this year’s annual Dirtfest concert here in Birch Run, Michigan. Check it out!
UTG: We are here with a member of Darkest Hour, please introduce yourself sir…
Darkest Hour (Ryan): Hi, I’m Ryan, I play drums occasionally for Darkest Hour.
UTG: How is the Summer Slaughter Tour going so far seeing as it is more than half over? Have you met some cool people or developed any new relationships along the way?
Ryan: It is just as brutal and abrasive as it should be and it’s dwindling down. We only have like 9 shows left. It has been one hell of a ride I can tell you that. Aside from that everyone has been very cool on the tour; it has been one big brotherhood.
UTG: I would like to say congrats on The Eternal Return. It seems like everyone has spoken and raved about how evolved and fresh sounding the new record is. Do you have a message for all of the listeners out there who support Darkest Hour?
Ryan: Thanks for being apart of the record and supporting us by purchasing it. I think if you are a fan of Darkest Hour then you got exactly what you wanted out of our latest cd. We’re going to keep writing songs that we love to play and hopefully the people and fans will enjoy what they hear. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel just writing really melodic death metal is our overall goal. The songs are getting a little more technical but it is just the sound evolving I feel.
UTG: What was the meaning behind the album title was it a concept or was it an idea?
Ryan: The Eternal Return basically is referring to events coming back around full-circle. We signed with Victory Records in 2001 and now that’s over and now we’re right back where we started with no label. We are ultimately the same band musically and sonically and that’s another aspect that has come back full-circle in a way. This album is like a refreshing new start for the band and that’s what the album title is alluding to ultimately. It is like a rebirth…but with a beard.
UTG: How do you guys feel like you stray away from the “pack” in terms of musical capabilities or stylistically in general?
Ryan: We do metal tour and we feel like we don’t belong and then we play punk rock shows and we feel like we don’t belong. We can do any kind of stylistic tour but as far as putting us into one category but we’re just regular dudes playing straight metal.
UTG: Going into writing the record was there one underlying theme or multiple themes?
Ryan: We knew that we wanted to get back to the original Darkest Hour sound from the first album. We were definitely pissed off and we were just in that mindset to put it straight. I think that this style that we’ve been working with is the style the band is going to continue with as well as adding more aggressive parts and making the album as technical as we want it.
UTG: Going a different direction how is the food situation on tour? What is your favorite meal (alcohol included)?
Ryan: Well as long as we get our bottle of Jack or Jamison and our beer we’ll be okay. The beer of choice changes from Coors Light to Miller Light to Pabst, it really varies on where you go in the country. Last year though I had a cheeseburger from Dirtfest…but I’m not going to say anything about it this year because I haven’t tried it yet. I’m not complaining because whenever we get food on the road I’m always grateful for it.
UTG: Do you play any practical jokes on anyone while on tour and if so what is the greatest prank you’ve ever pulled?
Ryan: The days are so long and hot and tiring here that people are more-or-less just trying to catch up on sleep for the most part. Whenever we do it isn’t anything elaborate there might be an inside joke here or there but nothing too extreme.
UTG: We prefer to not end interviews on a final question, but rather a closing comment. Call it a soapbox moment if you will. You can use this time to discuss something outside of Darkest Hour that’s been on your mind:
Ryan: Last night in Milwaukee I had to meet my girlfriend’s parents for the very first time. I really had high anxiety going into it but overall it went well. My advice to anyone who has NEVER met their girlfriend’s parents before is don’t freak out unless there’s a legitimate reason to. I just let the night progress and it went well so I’m happy about that.
UTG: Certainly glad to hear that ended good for you and thanks again for the great interview.
Ryan: No problem. I really enjoyed it.
Interview by Grant Trimboli and Alex Gohl