Darkest Hour (band)

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Darkest Hour
Darkest Hour Barcelona 2009.JPG
Darkest Hour live in Barcelona in 2009. From left to right: Mike Schleibaum, Mike Carrigan and Paul Burnette.
Background information
Origin Washington, D.C., United States
Genres Melodic death metal, melodic metalcore, hardcore punk (early)
Years active 1995–present
Labels E1, Victory, Sumerian
Associated acts Scar The Martyr, At The Gates, Devin Townsend, Soilwork, Animals As Leaders, Winds of Plague, Chris Carmichael, City of Caterpillar
Website www.officialdarkesthour.com
Members John Henry
Mike Schleibaum
Mike "Lonestar" Carrigan
Aaron Deal
Travis Orbin
Past members Raul Mayorga
Matt Maben
Ryan Parrish
Fred Ziomek
Billups Allen
Paul Burnette
Mike Garrity
Tommy Gun
Kris Norris
Timothy Java

Darkest Hour is an American melodic death metal band from Washington, D.C., formed in 1995. Though failing to break early in their career, the band has received acclaim for their albums Undoing Ruin, Deliver Us, and The Eternal Return. Deliver Us debuted at number 110 on the Billboard album charts, with sales of 6,600,[1] and their more recent effort The Eternal Return garnered them an even higher position in the Billboard album charts at number 104.[2] Their latest self-titled effort charted at 102 on the Billboard 200, a peak for the band, and it marked a stylistic shift in the band's discography.[3]


Formation (1995–1999)[edit]

Darkest Hour was formed on September 23, 1995,[4] and initially consisted of vocalist John Henry, guitarist Mike Schleibaum, bassist Raul Mayorga and drummer Matt Maben.

The band released its first EP titled The Misanthrope in 1996 on a local label called Death Truck Records. In 1996, Darkest Hour cut a single titled "Paths of Despair" for East Coast Empire Records' The Harder They Come compilation. The song proceeds at a slower, grueling tempo in comparison to the up-beat tempo the band would come to be known for. In 1999, Darkest Hour released another EP titled The Prophecy Fulfilled on another label called Art Monk Construction.

The Mark of the Judas and So Sedated, So Secure (2000–2002)[edit]

The addition of second guitarist Fred Ziomek, bassist Billups Allen and drummer Ryan Parrish saw the band release their first full-length LP The Mark of the Judas in 2000, on the now-defunct M.I.A. Records.

The Mark of the Judas was not widely promoted or distributed due to M.I.A. Records going out of business not long after the album's release.

Despite the fact Darkest Hour were left without a label, the band garnered enough exposure to catch the attention of Victory Records. Their Victory debut So Sedated, So Secure was released on August 7, 2001. After the release of the album, Billups was replaced by Paul Burnette and Ziomek left the band. The album was re-issued by Victory on March 7, 2006, and featured new artwork, re-mixed audio, re-recorded vocals and additional tracks.

The band continued to tour, with Schleibaum's longtime friend Mike Garrity filling in on lead guitar duties. Eventually, they accepted Parrish's old friend Kris Norris as the new lead guitarist, and then began to write their next record.

While Garrity was the guitarist, the band was arrested and jailed in Roland, Oklahoma for alleged marijuana charges, also for "illegally imported" beer and for an open beer can. They were fined $6000; Schleibaum was able to pay for himself, Burnette, and Garrity. Parrish and Henry had to stay for a couple of hours while the rest of the band had to get money to bail them out.[5]

Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation and Undoing Ruin (2003–2006)[edit]

Their third release Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation was released on May 20, 2003. Produced by well-renowned Swedish record producer Fredrik Nordström, the album signaled a shift from the band's previous metalcore style to a more melodic death metal style. As a result, the album gained strong mainstream attention, allowing the band to perform at Ozzfest 2004. Notably, the album contained political lyrics, with several songs criticizing American militarism post-September 11. The album was re-issued by Victory on July 13, 2004, with a bonus song and an additional DVD containing bonus material.

Darkest Hour released their fourth full-length LP Undoing Ruin on June 28, 2005. The album was produced by Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad) at Greenhouse Studios in Vancouver. The album was the band's first to enter the Billboard 200 charts, debuting at No. 138 with first week sales of 8,484.[6]

In the 2005 documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, Darkest Hour and a number of other bands including Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, Chimaira, Killswitch Engage, Unearth, and God Forbid are all listed under the category "New Wave of American Metal" in the "metal genealogy chart".

Deliver Us (2007–2008)[edit]

In early 2007, the band was in Vancouver to work on their next record with Townsend. On March 7, 2007, Victory Records issued a press statement confirming the title of the album was Deliver Us; it was released on July 10.[7]

In April 2008, Darkest Hour created a Washington Capitals fight song and a MySpace tribute page in support of the Capitals 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs run. The song "A Thousand Words to Say but One" was re-recorded with new lyrics and new solos into "Let's Go Caps!"[8][9]

In September 2008, it was reported on Blabbermouth.net that Kris Norris had left the band and would be pursuing producing routes and possibly a new band.[10] Not long after Kris Norris' departure, they found replacement Mike "Lonestar" Carrigan. With Lonestar officially on board the band is heading back into the studio to write & record with Producer Brian McTernan of Baltimore's Salad Days Studio.

The band's song "Demon(s)" is featured on the music game Guitar Hero 5.

The Eternal Return (2009−2010)[edit]

In March 2009, Darkest Hour began to record the new album, The Eternal Return, just before co-headlining (along with Bleeding Through) the Thrash and Burn European Tour 2009 in April and May. The Eternal Return was released on June 23, 2009, two weeks later than originally announced.[11] Darkest Hour then went on to play the 2009 Summer Slaughter Tour. They supported Trivium for the first leg of the North American into the Mouth of Hell We March Tour.

In February 2010, Darkest Hour announced a new tour with Dillinger Escape Plan, Iwrestledabearonce, and Animals as Leaders.

Signing to E1 and The Human Romance (2010–2012)[edit]

In April 2010, Darkest Hour announced their signing to E1 Music after having been with Victory Records for a decade.[12] The new album will be produced by Soilwork guitarist Peter Wichers, who helped pioneer Swedish melodic death metal and was a major influence on Darkest Hour.[13] In an August press release, the band described the new material as "the most emotional and melodic Darkest Hour album to date" and also said it "shares in that aggression [with The Eternal Return] and pushes Darkest Hour beyond the unknown."[13]

In a new Metal Injection interview, Darkest Hour members Mike Schleibaum and Ryan Parrish revealed that the new record would be titled The Human Romance, and it was officially released on February 22, 2011.[14]

On January 13, 2011, A new song entitled "Savor the Kill" was released onto Noisecreep.[15]

On December 22, 2011, Darkest Hour announced that they have parted ways with longtime drummer Ryan Parrish, He was replaced by Timothy Java from Dead To Fall.

On June 6, 2012, Darkest Hour announced that bassist Paul Burnette would be amicably leaving the band to join Iron Reagan. Aaron Deal, who had toured with Darkest Hour in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America was also announced as the new bassist.[16]

Signing to Sumerian Records and self-titled album (2013–2015)[edit]

On February 5, 2013 the band posted on Facebook that they are currently in the pre-production phase for the new record.[17]

On April 16, 2013 the band announced that Travis Orbin, a seasoned touring musician and session drummer, would be joining the band and has been a part of the writing process of the untitled 8th studio album.[18] On June 14, the band announced they had signed with Sumerian Records and implicated that they will be re-releasing The Mark of the Judas in late 2013, as well as working on a new record.

Darkest Hour released their self-titled eighth studio album on August 5, 2014.

Ninth album (2016-present)[edit]

The band are now said to be working on their ninth studio album as well as their first ever full length live DVD, Live at the Black Cat 2015 which was a special show they played to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Undoing Ruin.

Musical style and influences[edit]

On Darkest Hour's earliest recordings, the band showcased a sound in the vein of hardcore punk, but with the release of their debut album The Mark of the Judas, the band shifted their sound into a blend of melodic death metal and hardcore punk, with more emphasis on the melodic aspect of their sound, in what became known as metalcore. The band continued with this sound on their second release So Sedated, So Secure, but on their third release titled Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation, the band brought their aggressive hardcore influence to the forefront, whilst still maintaining a sense of melody. On the band's fourth and fifth releases, titled Undoing Ruin and Deliver Us, the band shifted into a more straight-forward melodic death metal direction, with vocalist John Henry beginning to incorporate clean vocals on the latter album. The band's sixth release titled The Eternal Return took the band a step backwards to a sound similar of that to Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation. With The Human Romance, the band returned to a melodic death metal-influenced sound, similar to that of Undoing Ruin. The band's eponymous eighth album signaled a stylistic shift in the band's discography, with the band adapting a more accessible and more upbeat style of metalcore.

They have stated that they're heavily influenced by Swedish death metal.[19] Guitarist Kris Norris said in an interview, "Well, put it this way – if you took an encyclopedia of metal, you could list just about every Scandinavian band as our influences! It’s not really any one particular band; we wouldn't say that we’re influenced by, say, In Flames or At The Gates, it’s every band from there."

Other influences include: Dark Tranquility,[19] Minor Threat, Earth Crisis, Bad Brains, Black Flag, Government Issue, Scream, Shadows Fall, Bleeding Through, Eighteen Visions, Every Time I Die, Entombed, Dismember, Sacrilege, The Crown, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Carcass, Arch Enemy, Killswitch Engage,[20] Sick of it All, Dead Kennedys, Soilwork,[21] Danzig,[22] Venom, Exodus, Discharge, Cro-Mags, Integrity,[23] Edge of Sanity, Mayhem, Emperor, Ulver,[24] Testament, Death Angel, Pantera, and Cannibal Corpse.[25]

Darkest Hour's main guitar influences are: Zakk Wylde, Dimebag Darrell, James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, and Scott Ian.[20]

Band members[edit]



Studio albums
Year Album details Peak chart positions


2000 The Mark of the Judas
  • Released: July 18, 2000
  • Label: MIA
2001 So Sedated, So Secure
  • Released: April, 2001
  • Label: Victory
2003 Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation
  • Released: May 20, 2003
  • Label: Victory
2005 Undoing Ruin
  • Released: June 28, 2005
  • Label: Victory
138 2 10
2007 Deliver Us
  • Released: July 10, 2007
  • Label: Victory
110 1 14
2009 The Eternal Return
  • Released: June 23, 2009
  • Label: Victory
104 1 16
2011 The Human Romance
  • Released: February 22, 2011
  • Label: E1
185 3 23
2014 Darkest Hour
  • Released: August 5, 2014
  • Label: Sumerian
102 11[27]
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.
  • w/ Groundzero (1999), East Coast Empire
  • Where Heroes Go to Die w/ Dawncore (2001), Join the Team Player
  • w/ Set My Path (2004), April 78
  • Party Scars and Prison Bars: A Thrashography (DVD, 2005)

Non-album tracks[edit]

Year Song Appears on
2007 "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" (Dead Kennedys cover) Kerrang! Higher Voltage[28]
2014 "Spectrum" (Florence + The Machine cover) Sumerian Ceremonials (Florence + The Sphinx)[29]

Music videos[edit]

Year Song Director
2003 "The Sadist Nation"
2004 "Oklahoma"
2005 "Convalescence" Dale Resteghini
"Sound The Surrender" Joseph Pattisall
2007 "Demon(s)" Joseph Pattisall
"The Sadist Nation (Hidden Hands DVD Alternate Version)"
2011 "Love As A Weapon" Scott Hansen
"Your Everyday Disaster" John Ryan Flaherty
"Savor The Kill" Ramon Boutviseth
2012 "Severed Into Separates" Mihaszna Film
2014 "Rapture In Exile" Taylor Larson
"Rapture In Exile (Rehearsal Video)"
"The Misery We Make" Taylor Larson
"By The Starlight" Mareesa Stertz


  1. ^ Blabbermouth.net, "Smashing Pumpkins, Darkest Hour, Danzig, Beatallica First-Week Sales Revealed", Posted July 18, 2007.
  2. ^ "Darkest Hour - Charts & Awards - Billboard Albums" allmusic. Retrieved on December 12, 2008.
  3. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/300303/darkest-hour/chart
  4. ^ Kingtuts.co.uk "Darkest Hour biography", Posted December 10, 2006.
  5. ^ Party Scars & Prison Bars: A Thrashography
  7. ^ Blabbermouth.net, "DARKEST HOUR: New Album Title, Release Date Announced", Posted March 7, 2007.
  8. ^ expressnightout.com,"Playoff Anthem: Darkest Hour's 'Let's Go Caps!"
  9. ^ Washington Capitals "Fight Song" Myspace
  10. ^ http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=104602 Blabbermouth
  11. ^ http://www.antimusic.com/news/09/april/15Darkest_Hour_Set_The_Eternal_Return_in_June.shtml
  12. ^ Sciarretto, Amy (April 12, 2010). "Exclusive: Darkest Hour Sign With E1". Noisecreep. AOL Music. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "Darkest Hour's New Album To Be Produced by Soilwork Guitarist". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. August 2, 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  14. ^ "DARKEST HOUR Discuss Their Next Release". November 18, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 
  15. ^ http://www.noisecreep.com/2011/01/13/darkest-hour-savor-the-kill-song-premiere/. Retrieved January 15, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ http://officialdarkesthour.com/darkest-hour-announces-bassist-paul-burnettes-official-departure-welcomes-new-addition-aaron-deal/
  17. ^ http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151458845689415&set=a.75618484414.73803.6831139414&type=1
  18. ^ http://www.revolvermag.com/news/darkest-hour-announce-new-drummer-travis-orbin.html
  19. ^ a b http://www.caughtinthecrossfire.com/music/interviews-2/darkest-hour-interview/
  20. ^ a b http://www.metal-rules.com/metalnews/2005/08/07/darkest-hour-the-lost-interview/
  21. ^ http://www.apeshit.org/reviews/darkest-hour-hidden-hands-of-a-sadist-nation/
  22. ^ http://www.mtv.com/artists/darkest-hour/related-artists/?filter=influencedBy
  23. ^ http://www.victoryrecords.com/darkesthour
  24. ^ http://www.jamplay.com/teachers/28-kris-norris
  25. ^ http://loudwire.com/darkest-hour-john-henry-mike-schleibaum-discuss-new-album-mayhem-festival/
  26. ^ a b c Peak chart positions for Darkest Hour in the United States:
  27. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/darkest-hour-mw0002677163/awards
  28. ^ New Cool Kerrang! Compilation
  29. ^ Sumerian Ceremonials (Florence + The Sphinx)

External links[edit]