It’s no secret that D.C. can’t hold a candle to the Baltimore and Richmond metal scenes. Speculation runs deep as to why, but the general consensus is that the District is a punk-only town, which means that metalheads in need of wicked double bass drums and evil growling often have to trip their asses out to the suburbs. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and Darkest Hour (a band to which D.C. lays partial claim) is a big one. Local labels Death Truck and Art Monk Construction released the quintet’s first few albums during the mid-’90s, after which Darkest Hour moved to metal powerhouse Victory. The band plays its annual D.C. show this weekend in support of its recent Deliver Us, which replaces punk undertones and breakneck tempos with moody harmonies, a thick and slow-chugging rhythm section, sparse solos, and a less-cluttered showcase for John Henry’s vicious screaming.

DARKEST HOUR PERFORMS WITH THE RED CHORD, FOR THE FALLEN DREAMS, SKELETONWITCH, AND ROSE FUNERAL AT 5 P.M. AT THE 9:30 CLUB. 815 V ST. NW. $15. (202) 265-0930.