Darkest Hour: John Blakemore Henry (vocals); Michael Schleibaum, Frederick Ziomek (guitar); Billups Allen (bass); Ryan Parrish (drums).
Additional personnel: Devin Malone (cello).
Recorded at Salad Days, Washington D.C. in March 2000.
Personnel: John Henry (vocals); Frederick Ziomek, Mike Schleibaum (guitar); Ryan Parrish (drums).
Audio Mixer: Brian McTernan.
Recording information: Salad Days Studios, Washington, DC (03/2000).
Photographer: Nathan Burke.
The Mark of the Judas is Darkest Hour at their finest, mixing hardcore with metal in a quite intense fashion. The band's flair for lengthy progressive metal songs is encouraging, as they never falter while hooking the listener in, even when the songs carry on for several minutes. The album's packaging aptly describes the band, as its abstract darkness and rough texture are a fitting visual for the music contained within. At times Darkest Hour is very coarse, yet this gritty exterior allows the band to convey their meaty hardcore subtext in a very effective manner. Surprisingly enough, there is an incredible instrumental hidden beneath all the testosterone and anger flowing from the disc, and this brief retreat from the otherwise nonstop barrage of aggression displays that Darkest Hour is much more than just another metal band. The production may be lacking, yet that muddy sound distinguishes Darkest Hour from the horde of similar groups and is an accurate portrayal of the band in a live environment. Although this quintet is far from groundbreaking, The Mark of the Judas is a solid slab of metalcore brutality and finds Darkest Hour at their finest. ~ Jason D. Taylor