Darkend – The Canticle Of Shadows (2016, Non Serviam Records)
There seems to have a weirdly forced vibe going around the release of this album with the A-list Black Metal guest performers in the name of Attila Csihar (Mayhem), Niklas Kvarforth (Shining), Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ), and Labes C (Abysmal Grief) for the release of the Italian Symphonic Black Metal act Darkend’s The Canticle of Shadows. As with any buzz surrounding a movie or a new record I tend to take a step back and wait for the confetti of fandom and trend followers to get down to make a more thoughtful opinion about the thing. With the new Darkend, I wanted to get my review out in time for the release date so I spaced my listens in time and I tried to distance myself from the many promotional emails and rainfall that I had over this new record.
However, as it is for the compositions we are in the Extreme Metal genre with an accent of Symphonic and Black Metal. Modern day Dark Funeral and Behemoth are probable parallels to Darkend’s music. They are really effing tight and the vocals variations makes it for a diverse album. It sounds contemporary and every second is filled with very fast drumming, distorted guitars, and many screams of suffering.
On the other hand, some songs tend to drag in repetitive riffing and could have been edited and shorten to get even more effective than they really are. Being hammered for six to eight minutes without much anything different is taking a risk that the listener might get a bit of a bore.
The second song on the album ‘’Of The Defunct’’ has this very fast blast beat going on with a chorus that seems a bit distant and gives a depth into the song. This is probably one of the best songs of Extreme Metal I’ve heard this year. With the guest vocalist Attila Csihar and his operatic legendary vocals this song is a complete musical piece. The guitar solos performed in this song are also epic.
Then you have the guest saxophone by Niklas Kvarforth in ‘’A Precipice Towards Abyss Caves (Inmost Chasm, I)’’ that is interesting but a bit thrown here in the song. In fact, the guest participation can be interesting with a few of them. With The Canticle Of Shadows, there presented as the most interesting thing. Which I think drags down the album a bit. It’s not a compilation album but as any guest is aligned each song there is a guest it is injected with the later’s influence and essence. It feels a bit disjointed and it makes the record a beast or a band with multiple personas.
In conclusion, despite the comparison to two of the greatest band in Extreme Metal, Dark Funeral and Behemoth, Darkend might not be at the same level as those two pantheon metal acts. Not saying that The Canticle of Shadows is bad, because it it far from being a bad album, but I’m moderate towards their projected success with this record. I will certainly revisit the album once in a a while but I think it is not meeting the great expectations the album wants to achieve.