Darkenhöld is a band that I’ve had the privilege to write about in the past; to be more specific, 3 years ago when I presented their outstanding opus “Castellum“. These French fellas are absolute craftsmen when it comes to evoking epic fantasy themes coated by harsh melodic black metal. Since then, I’ve become a somewhat passionate fan of theirs and today, I’m gonna share why (plus, their latest record “Memoria Sylvarium“).
An ode to the solitary explorations of the forests of south-east of France…
When a band is capable to blend intricate musicianship and immersive poems successfully, majestic legends come to life. Music itself is no longer a borderline that prevents the listener from experiencing a breathtaking moment of glory, sorrow and obscure mysticism. Darkenhöld took a great deal of inspiration from mesmerizing landscapes and medieval tales painting vivid pictures of awe-inspiring beauty and dread. Heroic chants echo in the distance and imposing battle roars shred the night stillness to pieces and unleash a grandeur set of darkened hymns. Anyway, I might have gotten a little carried away, so let me try to answer a fundamental question, namely is “Memoria Sylvarium” for you.
Although, Darkenhöld’s legacy is very much drawing essence from black metal, it does shy away from its wicked sounding and macabre image that this genre has been based on since its dawn of existence. Instead, “Memoria Sylvarium” projects a profound experience of dwelling in a mystic world bursting with liveliness in a whole variety of forms. Pale shadows and magic are as much present as every life form that springs from the deep forests, which are a central place that the album draws the listener’s attention to.
Evoking such visions is credited to the splendid craftsmanship that Darkenhöld show off in the span of 44 minutes. Each of the 9 songs set a mood of epicness and thrill that easily breaks away the heavy chains of the reality that we live in. “Memoria Sylvarium” keeps up the tradition of offering a rich palette of infectious melodies and subtle atmosphere that transcends a listening session into an utter wanderlust.
For me, Darkenhöld managed to maintain a high quality of arrangements that deliver more with each following spin. I did enjoy the fact that they did not strive to achieve overly polished production and left a tad bit of raw omnipresence to encompass the listener. The enchanting melodic riffs instantly slipped under my skin as well as the mellow symphonies that build very powerful emotions in conjunction with the aggressive mid-paced instrumental work. Although, “Memoria Sylvarium” might not be an innovator, it certainly does have strong characteristics that make it unique on its own.
Note: You can order merch via the Bandcamp player below.