Darkest Hour by Diamond 6

Are you bored of listening to the same mainstream artists over and over? Well, let me introduce you to the other side of the Hong Kong music scene, where there are jazz, rock and other genres, artists and bands you can discover through https://undergroundhk.com/. This review will focus on the latest song, “Darkest Hour,” by Diamond 6, a hard rock band from Hong Kong.

Since their formation at the beginning of 2017, Diamond 6 has published 18 singles on Spotify, leaving lasting impressions on their audiences online and at live performances. The biography on their website also pokes fun at how their singles and performances derive from their original aim, which is to play “one gig only.” Jokes aside, they delivered the “high-quality, brand-new rock n’ roll with a hint of nostalgia” that they promised, and their songs are unique and eye-opening to someone like me, who rarely listens to rock or indie artists.

Let’s talk about their latest single, “Darkest Hour.” Since I’m not a specialist at this, nor an avid fan of rock music, let’s break it down into two main sections: music first, then lyrics.

First, Darkest Hour follows the most common V-C-V-C-B structure (V for Verse, C for Chorus, B for Bridge). However, it has some unique attributes. It starts with a female voice speaking in Japanese, which vaguely translates to, “Hello, everybody. We are/ This is Diamond 6 from Hong Kong. Please enjoy (?)”, which immediately makes the listener feel as if they’re listening to D6 performing this song live on stage. Right away, electric guitars began to play, creating this throbbing beat. More instruments join in, adding to the suspense. Right at the climax, there was a short pause, and the song continued again now with its main rhythm and beat. With the tone and groove set, the lead male singer began to sing with a mellow, even sensual voice.

With a rising riff on an electric guitar, the song reaches its first chorus, where it gets more intense and powerful, almost like a frenzy. The pulsating bassline, the tight drumming and the clear, haunting vocals will surely make you start shaking your head, even banging to the music. And as soon as the chorus ends, we’re thrown back into the ominous, unnerving atmosphere that the verses created.

To sum it up, the first half of the song is the verses and choruses, which sound similar with slight variations here and there, such as when all instruments (except an electric guitar) hold one note for a quick second to allow the vocals to break through and create a sense of temporary clarity. The second half of the song is the bridge, which starts right after the last chorus and uses the throbbing, repeating beat that appears at the beginning and later at the end. Swiftly, the bridge reaches its second phase, where everything feels less chaotic with the repetition of the emphasis on the first beat, the focus on the moving, groovy bassline and the sirens the guitars made in the background. This siren sound intensifies even more in the third phase of the bridge, where almost all the electric guitars imitate the sirens you often hear as police cars or ambulances drive by in a hurry, with the drums maintaining the tempo. Reaching the fourth phase, the musicians let their last note sustain and fade off on their own, leaving only one guitarist finger styling and the drummer using a lighter, softer sound like hi-hat. Once again, this reminds me of a more ethereal, dreamy feel like the short one before. With the signal from the drums, the bass shifts gears, and the lead guitar changes the direction of the melody, slowly steering the song back to its more intense, chaotic side.

The fifth section is unison, as all the musicians play the same riff together and build tension and anticipation for the climax, the showdown, and the epic conclusion. This conclusion, or the sixth section if you’ve been following, uses the throbbing beat that appeared at the start of the song, which is kind of like an echo, a nod to how they started the song, but perhaps even a resolve to end it like how it all began.

Then, let’s talk about the lyrics. Since the section above took up almost 75% to this point, I suppose I shall also give more attention and thought towards the lyrics of this song, not in quantity, but in quality.

To kick it off, if you look at the lyrics without considering them to be the lyrics to a rock song, you would have thought it was poetry, which is a compliment. Aside from the rhymes, the imagery and language are relatively simple yet thought-provoking. What are the restless dreams the singer “walk on by”? With a title like “Darkest Hour”, do the lines “The night shines in my wake/ Not at ease I break” suggest that the singer-in-question does things at night, therefore answering why it’s the ‘darkest hour”, or is out for revenge or some other reasons, thus answering why the lyrics feel so vague yet sinister. To speak the truth, I may be thinking too deeply about the lyrics, and all that the reader and the audience need to know and enjoy is the head-banging music. Perhaps the lyrics might add to the suspense or even allow people at their lowest point, their darkest hour, to relate to it.

The gist of this review is that D6’s latest song, Darkest Hour, is a fantastic rock song, according to some criteria I’ve seen on several websites. Though it is not as revolutionary or ahead of its time as Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody or Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, it is still a great rock song that is certain to get the audience pumped up. After all, the most crucial aspect of a song is for people to relate to it or feel it, whether it’s through lyrics or pure instrumentals because a song with great lyrics but no memorable melody would be forgotten in the dust very quickly after publication. So if you want to get adrenaline pumping fast through your veins in the gym or find the right vibe in the game room with your friends, just play this song on different streaming services, such as JOOX, Apple Music or Spotify.
– Josh

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