Review Summary: A less attractive older sister of Darkest Hour's catalog, but still a totally bangable sister.
When listening to an early album of a band of such stature as Darkest Hour, it’s difficult to keep comparisons to later, more impressive albums out of mind. So Sedated, So Secure is more raw and aggressive than later albums such as Undoing Ruin or Deliver Us, and doesn’t perfect this sound in the way that Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation does. However, even as just a blueprint for later efforts, this album is a solid melodeath album and a worthy addition to Darkest Hour’s catalog.
Absolutely no time is wasted in gaining momentum; “An Epitaph” comes out swinging and smacks you in the face with a great, raw melodeath sound. Unfortunately, once the song is finished, you basically have an idea what the entire album will sound like. Standard formulas are followed throughout the album, and by the time “The Hollow” is over you can almost predict where every song will go once it’s started. The repetitive nature of the songs is the albums greatest flaw; don’t take that to mean that it isn’t worth your time, though.
Despite the predictability of every song, it’s impossible to notice one thing: nearly every second is filled with complete badassery. This isn’t watered down melodeath-influenced metalcore like that which would take malls everywhere by storm around the time this album was originally released; it is angry and churned out at a blistering pace. Some moments seem ripped right out of the At the Gates playbook, most noticeably on “A Cold Kiss”, but it that really such an awful thing? Also scattered throughout are what I can only describe as signature Darkest Hour moments. To someone who isn’t a fan already, this can be hard to describe; it’s just a moment in a song where everything works perfectly and it sounds just very…Darkest Hour. These moments appear in nearly every song, and push them above anything average.
There are a few stale moments, though, most notably the title track. It just doesn’t work as well as the rest of the album, and stands as the only skippable song on the track list. In addition, the final track drags out for far too long. Other than these two instances, however, the standards are kept high. There are two covers (Be Forewarned” by Pentagram and “Go Back to the Gym” by Battery) and some extra goofy songs on the reissue that don’t really add much substance, but are entertaining.
The dull moments don’t ruin the album in any way, most likely because every band member always contributes to the fullest. John Henry is as pissed as ever, and Ryan Parrish hold everything together superbly behind the kit. The guitars, while not up to par with later albums, fit well. Unfortunately, there’s a case of inaudible bass syndrome present throughout. The production on the reissue is great, but since that is the only one I own, I cannot comment on the original.
Like a less attractive older sister of the hottest girl in town, So Sedated, So Secure doesn’t get as much attention as the later, more polished Darkest Hour albums. But, if you take a closer look, you’ll start to notice that this sister is still totally bangable and worth your time, if you’ll just keep comparisons at bay for awhile. A must have for Darkest Hour fans, and definitely worth a listen for average melodeath fans.