Darkest Hour - So Sedated, So Secure (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Darkest Hour

So Sedated, So Secure (2002)


I'm becoming convinced that metalcore is the new hardcore. The growing ranks of metal-influenced hardcore bands has become the norm rather than the exception. This may bother purists - who still have Kid Dynamite, Trial By Fire, and Strike Anywhere, in the meantime - but it doesn't bother me. Some of the best "hardcore" of the past few years has been released by bands who have an unapologetically metal streak.

Of course, this band's previous record The Mark of Judas was one of those classics. In all fairness, even older hardcore was definitely influenced by speed metal, and Darkest Hour is just continuing the trend with their hyper-fast hardcore.

When Darkest Hour signed to Victory, I figured it was the best place for them; in spite of Victory's occasional missteps, they know how to put out a heavy hardcore record.

So I was excited to hear So Sedated, So Secure, which, after their previous record, would have to be incredible. Well, half of it is, and half of it isn't.

Darkest Hour's latest, has the band adopting a more metal feel, replacing the 1-2 kick of their previous records with a steady thumping bass drum, and overall a slower - but definitely not slow - sound.

The first few tracks, are strong, but not as intense as I expected, though the band comes into form with the fifth track, "No Closer than a Stranger", which is about as fast, and heavy as anything they've ever done. Without a doubt, the strongest track on the record.

Unfortunately, the band wavers with "A Cold Kiss" which comes across a little too groove oriented. Darkest Hour isn't a band renowned for it's vocals; for the most part the vocals just blend into the music, which works fine, since they are largely atonal and match the guitars. A track that focuses too much on the vocals is usually a little disappointing.

"Treason in Trust" is like the opener, "An Epitaph" in that it eschews the classic hardcore beat for a Pantera-esque double-kick rhythm. The last two tracks feature more melodic leanings, which is good, but still lacks a lot of the power that I know Darkest Hour is capable of.

The record closes out with a long, somber pseudo-symphonic bridge, which is nice, as a contrast, but because of what I percieved as a lack of energy in the second half of the record, it doesn't contrast as sharply, and seems a little tacked on.

So Sedated, So Secure is a mixed bag. The strong tracks are very, very good. But there is an inordinate amount of filler for an 8 song record. If you want to hear Darkest Hour, start with Mark of Judas and hold out hope for their next record.