It’s already 13 years ago that the Italian band Darkend was formed. Since that time these extreme ritual metallers are making the world a bit darker. Four years after their formation they released their debut full-length Assassine, which was followed by Grand Guignol – Book I in 2012 and The Canticle of Shadows in 2016. Now, since September the 13th, there is another, fourth, Darkend album unleashed upon the world. That Darkend released an album on Friday the 13th, 13 years after their formation of course can’t be a coincidence. In case something sinister had happened, Spiritual Resonance, as this new album is titled, would be the perfect soundtrack to that. Darkend’s lineup consists of Animæ, who is responsible for the inner abyss emanations and witchcraft (vocals, songwriting, art), Antarktca, who is responsible for the spiritual ambience and night mist (soundscapes, piano, orchestration, songwriting, Hammond), Valentz, who is responsible for the Ceremonial Bonese (drums), Vinterskog, who is responsible for the chasmic infrasonic torment (bass), Ashes, who is responsible for the seven stringed resonance and Nothingness, who is responsible for the seven stringed echoes (both guitars).
The ritual aspect of Darkend’s music immediately becomes clear during the intro of opener The Three Ghouls Buried At Golgotha with a mantra going on, while at a given moment Antarktca’s Hammond is added. A few moments later the entire band is coming in full throttle, also making clear the extreme aspect of Darkend’s music. There are a lot of things that are standing out within Darkend’s music. Of course, the aforementioned ritual aspect is much contributing. Darkend also shows a lot of variation on Spiritual Resonance, without leaving their basics too much. They very well know how to spread and control these many variations over this album without it getting too much, something that probably is also a bit easier due to their lengthier tracks. Quite a lot of changes in pace can be heard, with fast, pounding parts as well as more melodic, almost epic parts, that for example can both be heard in this opening track, which is perfectly flowing into Scorpio Astraea High Coronation with its ritualistic and ambienty end.
Especially the guitars are standing out in this Scorpio Astraea High Coronation, the high guitars as well as the much lingering guitars, that will also return in With Everburning Sulphur Unconsumed. Especially those lingering guitars are giving this Scorpio Astraea High Coronation a very hypnotizing effect. Scorpio Astraea High Coronation might include the least variation on Spiritual Resonance, but due to these lingering guitars and that resulting hypnotizing effect, that isn’t something bad.
Each track on Spiritual Resonance is very strong, so choosing a personal favorite track of this album wasn’t very easy. At the moment of writing this review With Everburning Sulphur Unconsumed and Vessel Underneath are standing out a little bit more than the other tracks, but the gap in between is very small, because Darkend delivered a very strong album. With Everburning Sulphur Unconsumed is standing out a bit more because of its regularly returing Hammond, the aforementioned lingering guitars as well as the vocal guest-contribution of Wardruna’s Lindy-Fay Hella. Her beautiful, Celtic-like vocals are very nice addition to this track. Vessel Underneath at first seems to be quite a standard straightforward black metal track with less variation compared to what we’ve heard so far, with exception of Scorpio Astraea High Coronation. However, that isn’t the case for this track in its entirety, as becomes clear when changes in pace, a piano, a roaring guitar and another string instrument are added after two and a half minute.
Do you dig black metal? Then be sure to not miss Spiritual Resonance by Darkend! With Spiritual Resonance Darkend delivered a very strong album that is very recommended for sure, especially for everyone who is in for some extreme metal.
I’m Tim van Velthuysen and I started DutchMetalManiac back in 2014. I’m 27 years old and I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Of course, I like metal, but I can also appreciate other musical styles. However, metal is what I mostly listen to. I also like going to concerts, meeting with friends and watching movies (especially arthouse).