Darkenhöld hail from France – Villeneuve-Loubet to be precise, down in the sunny South-East near Nice. Sunny, however, their music is not. Playing their own brand of “Atmospheric/Epic/Medieval Black-Metal”, having the sun shine on you is not amongst their main aims.
They’ve been around since 2008 or thereabouts with their first recording being on a tribute to Emperor. They followed this with two split EPs (one with Fhoi Myore, the other with Naastrand) and then theur own debut album in 2010 A Passage To The Towers.
Another appearance on a tribute album, this one to Enslaved, tied in with their second major release – Echoes From The Stone Keeper – in 2012.
Roll on September of this year and their third album, Castellum.
The band are primarily a three-piece (Aldébaran : Guitars, bass, keyboards, choirs / Cervantes : Vocals / Aboth : Drums) with two musicians joining them for live performances (Aleevok : Bass / Anthony : Guitar). Aleevok also produces the albums.
Despite being very much black metal with it’s fast pace and harsh vocals, much of their music is surprisingly melodic. Take the intro to “Le Castellas Du Moine Brigand” from the new album, for instance. Change the tone ever so slightly and you could have something that Hammerfall or Amon Amarth could come up with. This melody pervades the whole song and gives a sound much more accessible and – in my opinion – enjoyable than pure black metal.
It’s a great listen and you can check it out a couple of tracks on their Reverbnation page or youtube channel. The CD itself, released through Those Opposed Records, can be purchased through their Big Cartel shop.