Darkest Hour

Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation

Darkest Hour - Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation ©2003 Victory
1. The Sadist Nation
2. Pay Phones And Pills
3. Oklahoma
4. Marching To The Killing Rhythm
5. The Misinformation Age
6. Seven Day Lie
7. Accessible Losses
8. The Patriot Virus
9. Veritas, Aequitas

It was with great surprise that, after listening to this album several times, I found out that Darkest Hour yelps from Washington, DC, in the US of A, rather than Sweden, so great is their similitude to new-wave-of-melodic-Swedish-death-metal acts (old Soilwork, Gardenian, etc). Perhaps this is due to the fact that this album was recorded in Sweden with Fredrik Nördstrom at the helm. Unlike the aforementioned NWOMSDM bands, however, Darkest Hour opts to rasp hardcore/deathmetal-style throughout this record, with nary an smidgen of melodicism in the vocalist's flayed-alive style, presumably to accommodate the rather heavy message conveyed in the lyrics (something about conspiracies and a variety of ills ascribed to the USA and her government). While this rather rough approach to "singing" does tend to become rather dull after a few songs, the fact remains that the songs are very well articulated, with driving, vertebra-snapping riffs, and excellent musicianship (especially rhythm-wise); the drums are truly used as another instrument, rather than a mere beat in the background - "Seven Day Lie" and the bootay-waggin' tempos are peppered with welcome slower breaks.

Sonically, the album is on a par with standards in the genre, although one may wish for a bit more bottom-end. The drums slam, the guitars slice, the bass is virtually inaudible, and the mix is expertly balanced for ultimate whomp (except for the aforementioned deficit in the low-frequencies).

Sadly, the guitar leads and harmonies that contribute to making NWOMSDM so fun to listen to in spite of its often nasty vocals are only too rare and short ("The Misinformation Age"), which may turn the more melody-oriented NWOMSDM fans off a tad. Other than that, this album is a very pleasant, if not particularly original, exponent of a medium that has all but run its course, yet remains oddly endearing and enjoyable.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 06/2003

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