Darkenhöld – Castellum (Review)

Darkenhold

Darkenhöld are from France and this is their third album.

They play Dark Black Metal with a strong melodic sensibility; this is a band who are comfortable adding a Blackened melodicism to their sound whilst retaining their core of grim fire.

This is Atmospheric Black Metal without being ostentatious or flashy. The band have a firm grasp on this side of things and although the keyboards and enhancements are an integral part of their identity they know how to control them and reign them in for full impact.

Somewhat of a cross between Dimmu Borgir and Naglfar, they join the ranks of some excellent recent Atmospheric Black Metal releases by the likes of Akrotheism, Imperial Conquest, Rauhnåcht, Unfathomed of Abyss, and others, proving that the style is alive, healthy and vibrant.

This style of Black Metal always takes me back to the mid/late 90’s and Castellum is no exception. This is a very enjoyable listen and the songs seem to roll out of the speakers with an easy flow, to be welcomed like old friends that you’re always happy to see.

Give them a listen.

Unfathomed of Abyss – Arisen Upon Oblivion (Review)

Unfathomed of AbyssUnfathomed of Abyss is a one-man project from the US. This is his début album of Symphonic Black Metal.

It’s clear from the start that the brains behind this album is a very talented individual as the musicianship and songwriting is at an advanced level.

The drums are the only instrument he doesn’t perform. Rather than going the easy route and opting for a drum machine however, instead he has enlisted the considerable talents of Kevin Talley, (Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Chimaira, Misery Index, Six Feet Under, etc.), which lends the album much more presence than a mere drum machine ever could.

Symphonic Black Metal can sometimes lack bite and attack, but this is not the case here. Unfathomed of Abyss boasts an aggressive demeanour which is only enhanced by the keyboards, effects and piano additions.

Powered by the relentless drumming, the songs are lengthy and layered in thick atmospheres. Care and attention has been spent on these creations that much is clear. Strong soundscapes and expansive Blackened auras permeate everything.

There’s more to these songs than just Black metal though, as influences from Death Metal and even wider genres, (elements of Doom and Djent, for example), can be heard in some of the riffs.

The vocals run the spectrum from deep growls to the very high pitched screaming that forms the bulk of the performance.

Taking off where early Emperor left off; Arisen Upon Oblivion manages to capture a similar feeling to those early classic Black Metal albums. Mix this with a bit of Ihsahn’s solo work and Peccatum and you have an album that manages the admirable achievement of being strongly influenced by a notable Metal legend without sounding like a pale imitation.

This is an enjoyable album that won’t please everyone, but then again that was never the aim of Black Metal was it?