Darkest HourThreat Level Red

Darkest HourThreat Level Red
"We were taking band photos underneath a DC bridge, and a whole bunch of cops showed up — four cruisers and eight officers — and questioned us for an hour." It wasn't the first run-in for Darkest Hour guitarist Mike Schleibaum; the band have had more than their share of encounters in the terror-obsessed U.S. of A. "The bridge was apparently a Washington ‘soft target' for terrorists," Mike explains.

Renowned as one of the American hardcore pioneers of Gothenburg-influenced metal, during the course of their seven-year existence Darkest Hour's beliefs — their 2003 album was entitled Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation — have always been as fierce as their slashing leads and as pummelling as their relentless attack. These elements, along with a newfound appreciation for occasional vocal melodies and a more metallic sheen, continue to impress all comers on the band's latest Victory Records album, Undoing Ruin.

But while a politically-charged, antiauthoritarian spark has often grounded punk and hardcore, in Darkest Hour's case, life has taken an altogether fresh approach to imitating art — American law enforcement nearly went to threat level red during their recent promotional activities. Just days after their bridge incident, the police attempted to shut down a video shoot for Darkest Hour's debut Undoing Ruin single, "Convalescence," after onlookers reported fire, smoke, loud music and additional chaos in an apparent state of "sheer terror and disbelief."

"We had burning oil barrels, heavy metal blasting," Schleibaum recounts with barely detectable sarcasm. "Fortunately we managed to finish the shoot before the police showed up." Despite this seemingly inexhaustible series of obstacles (see their aptly titled Party Scars And Prison Bars DVD), Darkest Hour have emerged from the struggle with a multitude of stories, anecdotes and publicity to show for it, and nothing less than a potential metallic masterpiece in Undoing Ruin to back it up.