D.C. headbangers who favor Swedish death metal, the members of Darkest Hour have been grinding out gloom-and-doomsday meth-rock for eight years. During this time, the hard-touring outfit has endured the sort of tribulations that somehow always seem to plague seriously scary bands: record company woes, lineup shifts, uncooperative stage gear and audiences that just don't get it. A few years ago, the quintet's fortunes changed for the better when it signed to Victory Records and unleashed a monstrous album titled So Sedated, So Secure. The band's predilection for all things Swedish culminated in the recording of its latest effort, Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation, which was helmed in Gothenburg by renowned production wizard Fredrick Nordstrom. With its lyrical themes of secret agendas, back-room dealings and government wrongdoing, Nation will readily satisfy those packing conspiracy theories in their long, black trench coats, but it should also appeal to those merely looking to get caught in a mosh for the night.