Darkest Hour's new disc, Undoing Ruin, could easily beat up its first album, Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation, where the band was trying to be At the Gates. For that effort, Darkest Hour went so far as to record in Sweden with Fredrik Nordstrom (At the Gates, In Flames). It's like the band was a high school freshman just trying to fit in. Now, the D.C. natives have figured out they don't need to copy anyone, and we finally get what Darkest Hour is: solo-laden, kick-drum-throbbing metal. The searing guitar solos on Undoing Ruin are incredibly awesome, but well-placed and never overdone. And the powerful, melodic guitar bridge of "Sound of Surrender" is reason enough to shell out funds for this disc. But while Darkest Hour's music may have matured, the band members definitely haven't. It doesn't matter how small the venue, these guys are out to make it feel like an arena-scale event. That means lots of beer, audience members screaming into the mic, and guitarists in short shorts. Be prepared.