Darkest Hour (band)

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Darkest Hour
Darkest Hour live in Barcelona in 2009. From left to right: Mike Schleibaum, Mike Carrigan and Paul Burnette.
Darkest Hour live in Barcelona in 2009. From left to right: Mike Schleibaum, Mike Carrigan and Paul Burnette.
Background information
OriginWashington, D.C., United States
Years active1995–present
  • John Henry
  • Mike Schleibaum
  • Aaron Deal
  • Travis Orbin
  • Nico Santora
Past members
  • Raul Mayorga
  • Matt Maben
  • Ryan Parrish
  • Fred Ziomek
  • Billups Allen
  • Paul Burnette
  • Mike "Lonestar" Carrigan
  • Kris Norris
  • Timothy Java

Darkest Hour is an American heavy metal band from Washington, D.C., formed in 1995. Though failing to break through early in their tenure, 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 album Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora charted at 42 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, drummer Matt Maben, and bassist Raul Mayorga.

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 lead 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.

Darkest Hour were soon picked up by Victory Records. Their label debut, So Sedated, So Secure, was released on August 7, 2001. Billups was then replaced by Paul Burnette and Ziomek left the band. The album was reissued by Victory on March 7, 2006, with new artwork, remixed audio, rerecorded vocals and bonus 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 Norris' departure, they found replacement Mike "Lonestar" Carrigan. With Carrigan officially on board, the band headed 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 eOne and The Human Romance (2010–2012)[edit]

In April 2010, Darkest Hour announced their signing to eOne 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. 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.

They played numerous special shows in various parts of the world in 2015 where they played Undoing Ruin in its entirety along with other fan favourite tracks, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its release in 2005.

Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora (2016–present)[edit]

No longer contractually obligated with any record label, in early 2016 Darkest Hour launched an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign to help pay for their upcoming ninth studio album as well as their first ever full-length live DVD, Live at the Black Cat 2015, which was a special show where they celebrated the tenth anniversary of Undoing Ruin. By March 14, 2016, the band had surpassed their US$50,000 goal by raising $67,707 from more than 1,200 fans. In their announcement of exceeding their goal, Darkest Hour said they could use the extra money earned to "enhance the artwork, produce a music video (or two), enlist a possible guest musician (or two), hire a world class producer, and lastly help fund enhanced coverage of the making of / behind the scenes action."[18]

The band recorded their ninth album at GodCity Studio with Kurt Ballou of Converge fame from September–October 2016. Commenting on the choice of producer, Schleibaum said, "We want bring the energetic, raw, emotion we exude live to tape this time. We love to jam and riff all day and we feel Kurt [Ballou]'s unique style of producing will complement this perfectly. Also, it doesn't hurt that we completely respect and trust him as both a friend and musician, meaning we feel this monumental task of bringing another Darkest Hour album to life will rest well in his hands."[19] While in the studio, the band announced they were aiming for a February 2017 release date and would be collaborating with former member Kris Norris on a few tracks. On working with his former band members, Norris commented: "When the guys contacted me about the idea of a collaboration, I was excited because it has been a really long time since I've worked with them all. I've stayed in touch with them over the past years and it's really awesome to see that they keep trying new things on every album and growing musically."[20][21]

Darkest Hour released their ninth studio album titled Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora on March 10, 2017. Originally wanting to entirely self-fund and self-release the album, the band partnered with Southern Lord Records—who released the vinyl edition of their debut The Mark of the Judas in 2000—to complete the album's production and assist with distribution and marketing. Supporting tours began with a February–March 2017 US Tour with crossover thrash band Ringworm, Finnish grindcore band Rotten Sound, sludge metal band Tombs and Rivers of Nihil.[22][23]

On July 28, 2020, Darkest Hour announced that Mike "Lonestar" Carrigan had departed from the band and that "the next chapter starts now".[24]

On September 21, 2021, Darkest Hour announced that Nico Santora (formerly of Fallujah, Suicidal Tendencies, The Faceless and Lillake) would be touring with them on lead guitar.[25]

Musical style and influences[edit]

The band's sound has been described as a blend of melodic death metal and metalcore.[26]

They have stated that they are heavily influenced by Swedish death metal.[27] 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 Tranquillity,[27] 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,[28] Sick of it All, Dead Kennedys, Soilwork,[29] Danzig,[30] Venom, Exodus, Discharge, Cro-Mags, Integrity,[31] Edge of Sanity, Mayhem, Emperor, Ulver,[32] Testament, Death Angel, Pantera, and Cannibal Corpse.[33]

Darkest Hour's main guitar influences are: Zakk Wylde, Dimebag Darrell, James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, and Scott Ian.[28]

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: eOne
185 3 23
2014 Darkest Hour
  • Released: August 5, 2014
  • Label: Sumerian
102 11[35]
2017 Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora 1
  • 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)
  • Party Scars and Prison Bars Two and a Half: Live - Undoing Ruin (DVD, 2017)

Non-album tracks[edit]

Year Song Appears on
2007 "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" (Dead Kennedys cover) Higher Voltage!: Another Brief History of Rock[36]
2014 "Spectrum" (Florence + The Machine cover) Sumerian Ceremonials (Florence + The Sphinx)[37]

Music videos[edit]

Year Song Director
2003 "The Sadist Nation"
2004 "Oklahoma"
2005 "Convalescence" Dale Resteghini
"Sound The Surrender" Joseph Pattisall
2007 "Demon(s)"
"The Sadist Nation (Hidden Hands DVD Alternate Version)"
2009 "The Tides" (unreleased)
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
2018 "Enter Oblivion" John Henry[38]


  1. ^ Blabbermouth.net, "Smashing Pumpkins, Darkest Hour, Danzig, Beatallica First-Week Sales Revealed" Archived August 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Posted July 18, 2007.
  2. ^ "Darkest Hour - Charts & Awards - Billboard Albums" AllMusic. Retrieved on December 12, 2008.
  3. ^ "Darkest Hour". Billboard.com. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Kingtuts.co.uk "Darkest Hour biography" Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Posted December 10, 2006.
  5. ^ Party Scars & Prison Bars: A Thrashography
  6. ^ Blabbermouth.net, "SOUNDSCAN REPORT: CKY, MEGADETH, DEVILDRIVER, DARKEST HOUR, THROWDOWN" Archived June 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Posted July 6, 2005.
  7. ^ Blabbermouth.net, "DARKEST HOUR: New Album Title, Release Date Announced" Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Posted March 7, 2007.
  8. ^ expressnightout.com,"Playoff Anthem: Darkest Hour's 'Let's Go Caps!"[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "LETS GO CAPS - Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos". Myspace.com. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  10. ^ "BLABBERMOUTH.NET - Guitarist KRIS NORRIS Confirms He Has Left DARKEST HOUR". Archived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2008. Blabbermouth
  11. ^ "Darkest Hour Set The Eternal Return in June - Darkest Hour News". Antimusic.com. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  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. Archived from the original on August 5, 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  14. ^ "DARKEST HOUR Discuss Their Next Release". November 18, 2010. Archived from the original on November 21, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  15. ^ "Darkest Hour Move Forward on 'Savor the Kill' — Song Premiere". Noisecreep.com. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  16. ^ "Darkest Hour announces bassist Paul Burnette's official departure. Welcomes new addition, Aaron Deal. »". Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  17. ^ "Official Darkest Hour". Facebook.com. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  18. ^ Neilstein, Vince (March 14, 2016). "Darkest Hour Successfully Crowdfund Over $67k for Ninth Album". MetalSucks. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  19. ^ "Darkest Hour to record new album with Kurt Ballou". LambGoat. May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  20. ^ Neilstein, Vince (September 14, 2016). "Darkest Hour Collaborating with Ex-Guitarist Kris Norris on New Album". MetalSucks. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  21. ^ "Darkest Hour Begins Recording Crowdfunded New Album". Blabbermouth.net. September 14, 2016. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  22. ^ Kennelty, Greg (December 13, 2016). "Darkest Hour To Release Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora In March, Announce Spring 2017 Dates". Metal Injection. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  23. ^ MS Staff (December 13, 2016). "MetalSucks Presents: Darkest Hour, Ringworm, Tombs, Rotten Sound and Rivers of Nihil North American Tour 2017". MetalSucks. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  24. ^ "DARKEST HOUR Parts Ways With Longtime Guitarist MICHAEL 'LONESTAR' CARRIGAN". Blabbermouth.net. July 28, 2020. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "Guitarist Nico Santora (Fallujah, ex-The Faceless) Joins Darkest Hour". MetalSucks. September 22, 2021. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
  26. ^ "Nosiey 2017". Noisey.vice.com. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  27. ^ a b "Darkest Hour Interview - Interviews - Caught in the Crossfire". Caughtinthecrossfire.com. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  28. ^ a b "DARKEST HOUR: The Lost Interview". Metal-rules.com. August 7, 2005. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  29. ^ "DARKEST HOUR – Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation". Apeshit.org. June 16, 2003. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  30. ^ "Darkest Hour - News, Music Performances and Show Video Clips - MTV". Mtv.com. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  31. ^ "Darkest Hour". Victory Records. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  32. ^ "Kris Norris Guitar Lessons - Darkest Hour, Straight Line Stitch". JamPlay.com. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  33. ^ "Darkest Hour Members Discuss New Album, Mayhem Fest + More". Loudwire.com. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  34. ^ a b c Peak chart positions for Darkest Hour in the United States:
  35. ^ "Album Search for "darkest hour"". AllMusic. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  36. ^ "melodic.net: New Cool Kerrang! Compilation". November 19, 2010. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  37. ^ "SUMERIAN CEREMONIALS (Florence + The Sphinx) - Sumerian Records". Sumerianrecords.com. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  38. ^ "Darkest Hour - Enter Oblivion (Official Music Video)". YouTube. February 1, 2018. Archived from the original on December 13, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2020.

External links[edit]