Marching onward through the frozen wood and punishing storms of ice and death, the three warriors persevered with a gleam in their eyes and blood on the blade. Through countless days and nights of struggle, they saw no choice but to fight on, in the spirit of the ones who tried before them. Slaying ancient beasts and surviving natures elements continued to test their will. From the deepest, serpentine caverns to the highest, cloud-impaling peaks, the three iron-hearted allies kept their sights on an ultimate destination. It was a place they vowed to reach, death was unacceptable. One morning, as the day’s sun lashed in and out of the trees, they saw it. There, past what was surely miles of unforgiving terrain filled with unimaginable threat, their journey’s end lie in wait. Immense and majestic, the towers stood colossal, beckoning the three warriors toward their own ominous structure. Their goal, to find the rumored passage to the towers and celebrate ultimate victory. This is the story of Darkenhold.
In the year 2008, the like-minded grim sorcery of Aldebaran (guitars, bass, keys, choirs) and Cervantes (vocals) combined as one from the ashen remains of Ethereal (a more doom-oriented outfit) and embarked on the quest to create their own legacy in the hallowed halls of black metal history. With the addition of Aboth (drums and percussion), the formation of the French black metal juggernaut, Darkenhold was completed. With an appearance on an Emperor tribute album and split releases (with Fhoi Myore and Naastrand), Cervantes and his Darkenhold cohorts delivered their first forceful blows to the world of the extreme music underground and it seems like their conquest has only just begun.
The band has just revealed their inaugural full-length, A Passage To The Towers (Ancestrale Productions) upon the masses and sounded their battle cry. As dark as the tombs and epically structured, the album embraces a clean-sounding melodic approach, fusing it nicely with the fierceness of unbridled black metal spontaneity. Recorded in both Cox in Hell Studio and Drudenhaus Studio, A Passage To The Towers possesses great production and unleashes ten tales of medieval darkness through the eyes of Aldebaran (ex-Artefact), Cervantes and Aboth. The songs are presented in an almost conceptual manner, as if they are atmospheric chapters in an ancient story never before told. The album sets a tone at the start with somber guitar, chants and flowing water with “A Passage…(Overture)” before the gates are closed and all hell breaks loose with the galloping-into-certain-bloodbath attitude of “Ghouls and the Tower”. Aldebaran’s guitar attack and the raspy howl-and-screech of Cervantes maintain the solidity of granite throughout. The percussion takes up the front lines with power from start to finish. On songs like “Marble Bestiary” and “Citadel of Obsidian Slumber” that formula remains intact with the addition of spoken accents on the latter. Album closer, “Sorcery”, clocks in at nearly four minutes and lives up to its title to with every second.
With A Passage To The Towers, French trio Darkenhold have constructed an unyielding black metal monster, forging their own blade of devastation. Blazing with both melody and chaotic sensibilities, the record is a victorious testament to the band’s ability and a sign of where they are headed…straight to the towers!!