Metal Band Rocks the Red in DC

It’s always fun to listen to the musical selections at a sporting event.

If you’ve gone to enough games, you can almost predict the “obvious choices.”

“Jump” by Van Halen, “Sandstorm” by Darude, “Get Ready for This” by 2 Unlimited, “Song 2” by Blur. You get the idea.

To me, the deep cuts are always the ones that are the most appreciated. For example, this one, a deep cut by Devils Organist Pete Cannarozzi, playing the theme song to the NHL ’94 video game after the end of a period.

One genre of music that almost always gets love at hockey games is heavy metal. I have absolutely no problem with this because I love heavy metal. Often, it’s tried-and-true favorites like Metallica (you can basically add “Enter Sandman” or “Master of Puppets” to the list above) or another legendary band like Iron Maiden or KISS.

The Dallas Stars’ goal song, for quite a while now, has been a custom-created piece by Pantera.

Four hours down the road in our nation’s capital, a similar situation happened with the band Darkest Hour in 2015.

The DC-based metal band formed in 1995 and have been touring the world ever since, with nine studio albums to their name, including their latest release in March.

In particular, the group’s lead guitarist and founding member, Mike Schleibaum, is a die-hard Washington Capitals fan.

In 2015, the band heard their song “Rock The Red”– created for Washington and Caps fans — played in the now Capital One Arena.

It was a special moment for them, to say the least.

Now, the band hopes to give Caps fans another song to rally behind, with “Unleash The Fury.”

I talked with Schleibaum about both songs, as well as his love for the Caps:

When did you fall in love with the Caps? Who were some of your favorite players growing up?

As a young kid, I grew up playing street hockey and later ice hockey, the way most Northern Virginia/Southern Maryland kids from my germination did. Since the Capitals are our hometown team, we immediately adopted them as the family team around the house. My parents knew nothing about ice hockey, only that it was the only sport that I ever seemed to gravitate towards.

Although it was expensive, they did their best to make sure I had access to ANYTHING hockey, and that meant going to Capitals games and watching/listening to those games religiously around the house.

Later when I discovered music, my interest in hockey weaned. But I always held a strong love for the game and of course, in the last decade I have found a renewed love for the entertainment of the game.

My favorite Caps as a kid were Pete Petters, Dino Ciccarelli, Dale Hunter and Rod Langway, to name a few!

What was it like hearing “Rock The Red” in the arena for the first time?

Surreal to say the least! When I was a kid, we were invited to skate on the Capitals ice. I’ll never forget stepping onto the rink floor for the first time. Everything was so bright, big, and exciting. Hearing our song live at the game was this same feeling of excitement and joy. It’s an honor to play even a small part in an NHL game and it’s a huge rush of joy, that’s for sure.

What was the response like for the song among fans, players, and the Caps’ organization?

Well, fans are split because there are a ton of NHL teams and not all Darkest Hour fans are Caps fans, but they love the fact we are doing something out of the box and sports-related! Some of our video game fans love the songs when they play the games associated with hockey. But in the end, I think the songs are fun and our fans see them for what they are — just good ol’ fun, by fans of hockey for fans of hockey!

What inspired you to create “Unleash The Fury”?

We never know when to leave a party so of course, we had to make “ANOTHER” fight/get stoked song!

Honestly, we felt like “Unleash the Fury” is the theme of this season. No matter how much they win, the Caps always feel like the underdogs and have NEVER won a Cup for the city. We all feel like we are down and out, but we’re STILL FIGHTING.

“Unleash the Fury” is the rallying cry that the Caps use during the third period to get the fans stoked. Well, we are using it as this seasons motto and felt like it could be a great theme for a metal song! The rest is history and “Unleash the Fury” was born!

What would be the ultimate goal for your band with the Caps?

I think it would be awesome to play a surprise live set in front of the rink after the Caps WIN a Cup! I mean at this point, we have three Caps-themed songs. That’s almost half a set! So playing a few of these Caps songs LIVE at a game. That would be the ultimate goal!

What’s it like being a Caps fan today, watching this team and particularly their successes in the regular season and what’s happened in the playoffs?

It’s a joy to watch the Capitals. Some of these players are at the TOP tier of talent in the NHL and they’re playing for OUR CITY. The level of sacrifice it takes to become a player on their level is unreal. It’s a privilege to live in a city that has the talent right in front of us, it definitely inspires a love for the game and is why we have been lifelong fans of the Caps!

Full info about the band, as well as album and tour information, can be found at