Tuesday, Nov. 23; Launchpad (all ages, 7 p.m.): Darkest Hour are the band Metallica might have become if they hadn't gone all egotistical, drug-addicted pussy on us. Then again, “might” leaves a lot of room for speculation.
In eight years of existence, the D.C.-based band have foundry-cast an impenetrable sound that's almost equal parts classic thrash and hardcore, with a gleaming finish that's decidedly death metal. And while they're not the only ones operating in that realm—Shadows Fall, Dillinger Escape Plan and Lamb of God are among their contemporary brethren—Darkest Hour seem to have struck the most comfortable, natural balance of elements that can be quite disparate when one begins dissecting various metal subgenres with one ear always turned toward a punk rock ethos.
The band's latest offering, Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation (Victory), is a metal experience so complete that it compels the listener toward both the past and the present. As much as the record will have you scouring the budget bins for Kill 'em All, it'll have you looking for out-of-print Emperor records and delving into the recordings of such second-wave black metal bands as Dimmu Borgir and Rotting Christ.
Tonight's bill is as brutal as they come, and not one you're soon to forget. And, considering the recently updated capabilities of the Launchpad sound system and its always competent stewardship, there shouldn't be a non-ringing ear left in the place come midnight.