Darkest Hour Biography
Last updated: 03/08/2012 11:00:00 AM
In the beginning, it almost seemed like a terrible mistake, but it was destiny that heavy metal and punk would eventually crossover. In the early 90s, heavy metal was bloated and uninspired while punk rock was becoming more and more pretentious and disgruntled. Aggressive music needed a rebirth; moreover the two styles needed a renaissance. It was this marriage of thrash/speed metal’s power and the savagery of hardcore punk that would ultimately spawn a new age in heavy music.
Bands like Venom, Exodus, Discharge, Cro-Mags and Integrity took that initial spark of the crossover ethos and reinvigorated the sound each and every time, thus continuing the legacy and inspiring countless followers.
Fast-forward to 1995 in Washington DC, (what many would consider the home of modern hardcore music) where another chapter of both hardcore/punk and metal history would be written. Classically unassuming and, in many ways, keeping in true punk spirit, DC gave birth to the band that would bring both genre’s even closer.
That band is DARKEST HOUR.
A bastard child born of the mid 90s punk/metal/hardcore movement, DARKEST HOUR combines the passion, energy, and soul of punk/hardcore with the style, speed, vengeance and fury of melodic speed/thrash/death metal.
In this decade-without-a-name, DARKEST HOUR defined the entire New Wave Of American Metal sound and gave the metal and hardcore/punk world a revitalization it surely needed. This new style blended the raw, hardcore punk of the 80s with the Scandinavian death metal of the 90s and forged a sound that would later become the template for modern metal.
Their first recordings, The Misanthrope and The Prophecy Fulfilled, although bitter and raw with the sound of a young band searching to find its own identity, planted the initial seeds in the late 1990s for what was about to become legendary. DARKEST HOUR would eventually cross paths with producer Brian McTernan who then recorded their first full length, The Mark of the Judas. It was one of the most talked about debut albums of the period; an absolute monster of a thrash record. Plagued by label problems, The Mark of the Judas, although not widely promoted caught the attention of Chicago, IL based VICTORY RECORDS and in 2001 they joined the VICTORY RECORDS family. Later that year, DARKEST HOUR recorded and released their second full length, So Sedated So Secure.
This would be the vehicle that made DARKEST HOUR somewhat mythic. “You have to hear this American hardcore/punk band that plays Swedish Death Metal!” They were all anyone involved in underground music was talking about that year, and for good reason. Two grueling years of touring with some of the underground’s most celebrated punk and metal bands would eventually lead them to Sweden to work with producer extraordinaire, Fredrick Nordstrom. Nordstrom then produced the politically charged, Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation, and made the band a household name as one of the hottest metal/punk bands in the underground.
Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation helped the band gain strong mainstream attention and, as a result, the band was asked to participate in 2004’s Ozzfest (alongside legendary bands like Slayer, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Slipknot and many other metal heavy weights). 2005 saw DARKEST HOUR reach a level of status that allowed them to pursue their next metallic masterpiece, Undoing Ruin. Recorded by Devin Townsend at Greenhouse Studios (Vancouver, BC), Undoing Ruin entered the Billboard 200 Charts at 134. Not to be slowed down, the band continued relentless touring all over the world. In 2007, DARKEST HOUR returned to Vancouver, BC to record the follow up to Undoing Ruin. With Townsend once again at the helm the band forged Deliver Us, their most prophetic, destructive, and sonically realized work to date. After a year of intense touring, DARKEST HOUR was asked join their heroes, At The Gates, on their legendary reunion tour and the story seemed complete.
But much like the circular nature of life, change must always occur. On their 6th full length record, DARKEST HOUR needed something new and fresh. They knew that heavy metal in general needed a catalyst. The time felt right once again as this decade-without-a-name started coming to a close, DARKEST HOUR knew that something dramatic was necessary for this next record. The band returned home, reunited with producer Brian McTernan and together made a simple mission statement.
“Let’s record the fastest, heaviest, most melodic and most ambitious thrash metal record we can. Let’s take these genres of aggressive music and smash down the walls. Let’s make a modern day thrash metal masterpiece that re-defines the genre and, more importantly, re-defines the sound of the band.”
Working with McTernan at his Baltimore, MD complex Salad Days, DARKEST HOUR rediscovered the fire that fueled them in the very beginning. This new, uninhibited sense of freedom and power enabled them to record their most dedicated and sincere performance ever.
On June 23rd, DARKEST HOUR proudly introduces their defining new record to the world…The Eternal Return. With all the speed and fury of Hidden Hands, all the melody and songwriting of Undoing Ruin and all the technicality and musicianship of Deliver Us, The Eternal Return is an epic and furious record that captures every aspect of the DARKEST HOUR sound and takes everything that the band has perfected in the past and pushes it over the edge.
Appropriately enough, the record focuses on the duality of death and birth. Many metal records now-a-days will have you believe that their’s is the greatest thing since the circle pit, The Eternal Return will certainly live up to the hype. From beginning to end, The Eternal Return completely engages the audience with its energy, fury, and passion. Each song on this record is a perfect example of the raw power and superb musicianship that DARKEST HOUR is known for.
The Eternal Return marks the next chapter in DARKEST HOUR’s sonic journey and a new beginning that makes a very clear cut statement of where the band is and where it is headed. A record made by metal-heads for metal-heads. While their history spans a decade and a half, a quarter of a million records sold and voyages across every inch of the globe, The Eternal Return reaffirms that DARKEST HOUR is still doing the unexpected, still pushing a genre to its extreme, and still a heavy metal powerhouse to be reckoned with.