The Darkest cut

Chris McCluskey is on the music news prowl.

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Typically when wrapping up an interview we ask if there’s anything the interviewee would like to add. Almost always, we get the customary “if you could mention the show, that would be great.” However, drummer Ryan Parrish of Washington, DC’s Darkest Hour shares vivid memories of the band’s last trip to the east coast, in October 2004.

“Well, we went to Prince Edward Island and I started running around on the dunes. I had no idea you couldn’t do that,” he says. “But I went running around in the dunes and I got one of those things caught deep inside my foot. Like, one of those weird stick things. I spent the majority of my time in Halifax with the guy I was staying with, and he was helping me dig this thing out of my foot. It was pain.”

“Pain” best describes the source of the group’s inspiration. The Victory Records quintet—rounded out by bassist Paul Burnette, vocalist John Henry, and guitarists Kris Norris and Michael Schleibaum —is currently touring on the success of last year’s Undoing Ruin, which combines death metal, thrash and punk influences to express the hypocrisy of politics, society and human relationships.

“So far the record’s being received more than we ever thought,” says Parrish. “We just thought it was something we were all proud of and, luckily, everyone else seemed to like it too. It worked out for everybody. We’re happy with the progression from the last one.”

It also won’t be long before Darkest Hour starts piecing together material for a new record. That will have to come sometime after a 16-shows-in-17-days Canadian tour, which stops at the Pavilion on August 7 and The Attic on August 8. Support wil be provided by Misery Signals, From a Second Story Window and Versus the Mirror.

Safe ’n’ studious

From the “where have they been file,” former Arlibido frontman Tim MacNeill returned to Guatemala on July 18 to pursue both artistic and academic interests. Once an ECMA winner lauded as “the next big thing,” the vocalist and guitarist fled the mainstream to complete a Masters of developmental economics at Dalhousie, before moving on to work on his PhD in communication and culture at York University in Toronto.

“The cultural politics of Guatemala are both fascinating and important,” says MacNeill via email. “We have here an indigenous population that is extremely fearful of engaging in politics because this has traditionally led to genocide.”

MacNeill further explains how one of the few routes available for assertions of any kind is through culture. He is able to observe the Maya experiencing a cultural invigoration, and increasingly gaining a sense of power through the clothes they wear and the music they listen to. “With self-respect comes power, and this cultural assertion is therefore a political move,” he says. “Hopefully one can map out a detour around genocide and war. It is very precarious now, so we will see.” More on on MacNeill, and how his new concentration is influencing him artistically, next week.

Rolling along

It looks like Alice Cooper will play primary support to The Rolling Stones when they touch down in Halifax on September 23—the date is now listed on his website. No word on other Stones show confirmations as of press time, but Boston’s Dropkick Murphys will pay a visit to the McInnes Room with Comeback Kid and Clit 45 on September 16.

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