Two decades ago, Darkest Hour was just a band from my high school, and, like most high school bands, not particularly good. The group that eventually became D.C.’s kings of metal evolved from a series of sludgy bands with names like WD-40 and Indivision, and started out releasing plodding, down-tuned dirges on labels with names like Death Truck Records. At some point, though, guitar wiz Mike Schleibaum started listening to a lot of At the Gates and In Flames, and the band took a sharp turn toward Swedish death metal, a subgenre that was more complex, more melodic, and a hell of a lot more fun. Darkest Hour went on to release a bunch of terrific albums and enter the running for D.C.’s hardest working band by repping the District—the group wrote a fight song for the Capitals—and embarking on frequent tours. The album that heralded Darkest Hour’s arrival as a truly great band, 2000’s The Mark of the Judas, disappeared with its label, M.I.A., which folded soon after releasing it. Fortunately, it’s just been re-released in time for the band’s 20th anniversary show. You’ve come a long way, guys, and we’re proud of you. Darkest Hour performs with Dead to Fall and Loud Boyz at 7:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $15–$18. (202) 667-4490. blackcatdc.com.