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Standout Track:No. 3, “Savor the Kill,” the first single off The Human Romance (eOne) and one of the catchiest tunes the 15-year-old quintet has ever written. “The whole record is [vocalist] John Henry’s take on where he sees the impetus for why man is the way he is,” says guitarist Mike Schleibaum. “This song sums up a lot of what the record’s about: It looks at the duality of how humans act just as animals.”

Musical Motivation: Darkest Hour’s earliest inspirations were the melodic Swedish death metal (MSDM for short) pioneers In Flames and At the Gates; that combination of brutality and beauty blankets “Savor the Kill.” MSDM vet and Soilwork guitarist Peter Wichers produced the record, but the LP was mixed by post-punk engineer Brian McTernan. “In the end, we had a dream team,” says Schleibaum, 33. “It’s still a little grimy [because of McTernan], still Darkest Hour, but it’s totally fresh-sounding because Peter’s all up in there.” Wichers may have recognized the song’s uniqueness, but Schleibaum says the band works hard to find the best hooks. “[Y]ou have to write tons of songs before you find the cool ones,” he says. “All that gun-slinging was done right here on Georgia Avenue,” where the guitarist lives.

Like a Preyer: “A lot of the record looks at this predatory instinct of [humans],” says Schleibaum. “And there’s no a better backdrop for that kind of talk than melodic death metal. The music can be vicious, it can be melancholy—it all depends on your interpretation on what those things are.”