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The latest release from Darkest Hour is a seething affair to say the least, as HIDDEN HANDS OF A SADIST NATION goes that extra step to provide the metal realm with a powerhouse offering. Could the magic stem from the fact that this Maryland based quintet recorded the disc in Sweden with dark metal wizard Fredrick Nordstrom? Well, probably, when you factor in that cameos by members of heavyweights like Soilwork, At The Gates, The Haunted, and The Crown could've only been possible by working in the birthplace of the Gothenburg metal sound. Add in the know-how of this cagey outfit that has survived many a record industry setback, and you come out with 11 tracks of crisp guitar riffs, epic instrumental interludes, and a plethora of headbanging rhythms that would knock your head clean off if given the chance. The best thing about Darkest Hour is that they display an uncanny knack for being able to switch gears from double-time death punk to moody melodic passages effortlessly, a sign that this band can in fact run with the big boys of the darker end of the metal spectrum. Featuring nine tracks of monumental metal, Darkest Hour's quest to work with the finest in its class immediately catapulted the band amongst its ranks and makes HIDDEN HANDS a blockbuster of a metal album.
- Mike SOS