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Review: Darkest Hour - Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation
Darkest Hour
Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation

Label: Victory Records
Year released: 2003
Duration: 56:09
Tracks: 9
Genre: Thrash Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: May 3, 2003
Reviewed by: Scott Murray
Readers Rating
Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation

Rated 3/5 (60%) (5 Votes)

I can’t help but picture the guys from Darkest Hour snatching the keys to the Delorian from Doc Brown and then traveling to the future to record an album far beyond either of their two previous releases. Well, it’s not THAT far from the truth. Just replace Doc Brown with Fredrik Nordstrom and Delorian with Studio Fredman. As we all know, Nordstrom always makes a great sounding record, but this time he’s amplified a band with so much potential, forging their sonic boom of sound into an absolutely flooring and monstrously huge album, but still leaving plenty of room for the band’s unique personality to shine through. A metalcore attitude combined with intense Swedish-tinged thrash is what you’ll find on Hidden Hands of A Sadist Nation. Hmm….and what’s this? I think I forgot to mention the huge guest appearances, check it out: Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates), Peter Wichers (Soilwork), Anders Bjorler (The Haunted) and Marcus Suneson (The Crown).

Sometimes I have a tendency to hyperbolize, but I assure you every statement in this piece is genuine. This is the thrasher of the year that I’ve been waiting for. Shame on The Haunted for putting out a soulless, wham-bam thank you ma’am recording in One Kill Wonder. But now Darkest Hour has filled that vacant void in me that was patiently anticipating the next thrash masterpiece.

Lyrical content and song titles reflect political angst and anti-American sentiments, while the rough production that has a slight static haze around it prevents the album from sounding overdone and maintains the aggressive down and dirtiness of Darkest Hour. Simply put, the band sounds more metal than ever, but they are still undeniably the same band. I have always admired the rough throaty screams of vocalist John Henry. He manages not only to avoid the usual hardcore style wailing that acts as a major turn-off for many metal heads, but also creates a sound all his own.

From top to bottom, Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation is a wild ride; always in your face, but spontaneous enough to keep you enthralled for the entire hour the album runs.

And I don’t think I’m allowed to end this without mentioning the 13 minute album closer Veritas, Aequitas, an instrumental that had me thinking these guys must have been listening to their old Metallica albums while they wrote it. Varied in sound, from the epic riffing, acoustic section, power guitar and a piano bit to close out the album, it is a reflection of the vastness achieved with this, Darkest Hour’s finest hour.


Other related information on the site
Interview with Mike Schleibaum (Guitar) on June 5, 2003 (Interviewed by Scott Murray)
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