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Darkend - The Canticle of Shadows Award winner

Darkend
The Canticle of Shadows
by Marcos "Big Daddy" Garcia at 13 July 2016, 9:10 AM

There's a weird tradition on Metal: the third album will decide a band's fate.

This idea comes from legendary names that reached commercial success on their third albums, and even their musical creative peak. IRON MAIDEN's "The Number of the Beast", METALLICA's "Master of Puppets", SLAYER's "Reign in Blood" and many others carry this title. And there are some bands that on their third album create something perfect, excellent, that no words could describe. And my dear readers (those I gently call my nephews and nieces), the Italian sextet DARKEND creates a masterpiece on "The Canticle of Shadows", that is their third album.

Dear nephews and nieces, their musical work is really wonderful. The band uses long songs to expose their musical work that is a kind of Symphonic Black Metal with influences from Death Metal, excellent melodies and even the presence of Classical music, Gregorian chants and more than I can describe in few words. And the complexity of their songs is not due their instrumental technique, but to great quantities of arrangements in each song. It's incredible, and not boring in any moment.

"The Canticle of Shadows" has a very good production, indeed. It was done in the best way for the band to show their work, keeping all their instruments clear and with excellent tunes. But the album's song has an impacting and aggressive sonority as well, so be prepared for an assault of brutality.

But I must state a thing before you hear the album: it's not so easy to swallow at the first hearing, but on the second, you'll be hooked to it! And be prepared for the special guests on "The Canticle of Shadows", because Niklas Kvarforth from SHINING appears on the vocals on "A Passage Through Abysmal Caverns (Inmost Chasm, II)", Attila Csihar from MAYHEM appears on "Of the Defunct" and "Sealed in Black Moon and Saturn", Labes C. Necrothytus from ABYSMAL GRIEF is making vocals on "Il Velo Delle Ombre", and Sakis Tolis from ROTTING CHRIST is singing on "Congressus cum Dæmone".

The violent "Clavicula Salomonis" is full of great musical elements (Gregorian chants, clean moments, great orchestrations), along with passage of clean voices on Latin and extreme melodies here and there (Valentz is something astonishing on his drums! He's truly fast and technical!). A heavy and somber atmosphere permeates "Of the Defunct", where Gregorian voices appears on the violent beginning, along with the nasty and particular way of singing of Attila and Animæ in the middle of this chaos of excellent guitars (some solos appear on the violent moments). A sinister song is what we hear on "A Precipice Towards Abyssal Caves (Inmost Chasm, I)", where violence gives place to introspection, with an oppressive feeling, presenting an excellent work from vocals and keyboards (Antarktica is really a master of arrangements of morbid feelings, even when his keyboards seem to emulate a saxophone). And the somber and aggressive dark chant of "Il Velo Delle Ombre" oppresses until nothing is left from your bones and conscience, with fine work from keyboards (that gives support for the oppressive feeling of the song) and bass guitar (Specter has a very good technique, indeed). "A Passage Through Abysmal Caverns (Inmost Chasm, II)" is a hooking spear of pure aggressiveness and darkened melodies on our hearts, where the clean voices of Niklas and the shrieked tunes from Animæ forms a profane duet, and the guitars from Ashes and Nothingness unleashes perfect riffs and great melodies. On "Sealed in Black Moon and Saturn", the band uses a more simple approach, but keeping the aggressiveness and the musical level on high values, a perfect marriage between brutal musical violence and great moments from keyboards and guitars again. And the Gospel of Black Metal according DARKEND ends on "Congressus cum Dæmone", a climatic song full of rhythmic changes, along with very good chants from Sakis along with the excellent work from Animæ once more. But there's a bonus track, a version for "Inno Alla Stagione Dell'Inverno", a song from FEARBRINGER, another great Black Metal band from Italian underground, that here gained a more aggressive insight.

Perfect, just like this. And maybe I have found my favorite album of the year.

Originality: 10
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Clavicula Salomonis
2. Of the Defunct
3. A Precipice Towards Abyssal Caves (Inmost Chasm, I)
4. Il Velo Delle Ombre
5. A Passage Through Abysmal Caverns (Inmost Chasm, II)
6. Sealed in Black Moon and Saturn
7. Congressus cum Dæmone
8. Inno Alla Stagione Dell'Inverno (FEARBRINGER cover)
Lineup:
Animæ - Vocals
Ashes - Guitars
Nothingness - Guitars
Antarktica - Keyboards
Specter - Bass
Valentz - Drums
Record Label: Non Serviam Records
     


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