It’s great to chat with the Italian act Darkend, one of the best bands in the Symphonic Black Metal picture nowadays. They have just released a new album, “The Canticle of Shadows”, and we want to know more about it, so we have been in contact with Animæ, the vocalist of the band, a guy that lives and loves the music they play, as you will check in this very interesting inteview.
Hello Animæ, with your first full-length “Assassine” you got enough recognition to tour around with bands such as Rotting Christ and Samael. Later on, with “Grand Guignol – Book I” you confirmed your status. How would you summarize your beginnings as a band?
I see it as a coherent and stormy walk on a path that led us to find out the core of our artistic expression and of the deepest regions of our Souls, in some way. With “Assassine” we started to explore the dark matter of what we carried inside, while with “Grand Guignol” we refined out things, starting to really craft what now we call Extreme Ritual Art: a combination of music, words and visuals in order to exorcise what has to be put out and to engrave with Fire what we need to remember eternally. It was an exciting journey so far, and of course the European tours with Rotting Christ, Samael, Melechesh, Cradle Of Filth and God Seed helped us a lot to focus on what we want to achieve and gave us the possibility to bring our Art to a larger amount of people.
With the eyes in your new album, is there any kind of evolution regarding those previous works?
Yes, definitively. While the previous two albums were like a road towards something, “The Canticle Of Shadows” is the first stone of our Temple. Is like settling down and starting to build a dark Cathedral, different from everything else. In my opinion it’s really intense, straight to the core and at the same time complex and mutable. It has many faces, many rooms. We integrated there a lot of elements from different cultures: Gregorian chants, Shamanic litanies, ancient Goetian readings, solos with a dark classic metal vibe and deep riffs. It’s less symphonic, in some way: the orchestra is mostly used to create the atmosphere, it not dominates the sound. It suggest you where you are: in the dark.
How was the creative process of “The Canticle of Shadows”?
Well, quite tumultuous. We really wanted to detach from our old ways of writing music to find out something fresh and able to express our feelings in all their power. It took some time to find a new way to work: now, the creative core of the whole thing revolves around me, Nothingness & Antarktica. Basically, I have visions. I try to capture their atmosphere and then I explain them to my mates and from that we start to write structures, riffs and arrangements.
In this new album we find Labes C. Necrothytus (Abismal Grief) and Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ) as special guests. How did it happen and how did you feel working with such big names of the scene?
We are really close friends with both of them and everything came out in a quite simple, natural way. It is really an honour for me to have them on a Darkend album and I think that they fit perfectly to their role. The same can be said about Niklas Kvarforth (Shining) & Attila Csihar (Mayhem), the other two spirits blessing “The Canticle Of Shadows” with their haunting voices.
“The Canticle of Shadows” is a conceptual work, right? What is the story about?
Not really; I mean, it started as a conceptual work but then it turned out to be something different. It’s very, very personal. As I said before, is a Mantra and an Exorcism at the same time: a way to get rid of horrible things and at the same time to interiorize the ones that make your Soul to grow. It’s my own way to be Spiritual, my own way to see through Life, Death, through the whole world and through the deepest inner Abyss. In that way, I could say that there is a red line that unites it all.
If I had to say something about “The Canticle of Shadows” it would be easy: darker & heavier…
I’m absolutely agree with you, mate. These are the words that I would use to describe it shortly. Darker, heavier & more intense, I would add.
I would like to ask you about the most symphonic elements of your new album, they really build a great atmosphere…
You’re right, as said before the symphonic instruments are mainly used to create that bleak and sacral atmosphere that you can almost breathe towards the album. We worked a lot on that, on something that you can really sense and FEEL on your own skin. I’m really glad that you got it.
How do you see the current Black Metal scene? What can we expect from this style in the future, in your opinion?
I consider Black Metal quite healthy, with a lot of strong emanations. Well, it has always been healthy, in my opinion: it’s all about giving shape to your deepest feelings with sincerity, and luckily the world is full of Artists that could not even live without doing that. And that’s what I always expected from Black Metal, and what I will always expect: sincerity and intensity.
Some people used to compare Darkend with Cradle of Filth…, but I’m still searching for the matching points… How do you feel about that?
Ahhh, that’s an old topic. I think that in some ways “Assassine” can have little similarities with some Cradle Of Filth trademarks, but that’s all. Even the symphonic elements (which are the main thing for which Darkend are compared to Cradle, I assume) are used in a very different manner. I just think that those who use to say that just granted out works a fast and superficial listen, but it’s just my opinion of course. Said that, I would like that underline that I love some Cradle Of Filth music and that Dani Filth is a good friend, indeed.
The album is issued by Non Serviam Records, how do you feel with the label?
We are very happy with Non Serviam Records so far. The guys in there are really dedicated and, above all, they are the first fans of the artists that they decide to sign. Non Serviam Records is all about passion, hard work and love for music: I think that these things are enough to make it a great label.
By the way, I think the cd comes in a digipack format limited to only 500 copies, right? Not too few for a renowned band as yours…?
It’s right, but it’s just the first press. The digipack edition will come out with an expanded booklet, some additional visual artworks and a bonus track. After that, a regular edition of the album will be released.
Aha, that explains it all. If had to choose a track it would be A Passage Through Abysmal Caverns. Which one would you underline?
Oh, I’m sorry but it’s impossible to reply. This is the first time in which I’m REALLY captured by every single second on the whole work. It depends on the mood of the moment, on the emotion that I want to experience once again.
As I stated before, you have toured with the big names already, what are the touring plans for this 2016?
And what do you plan to do after presenting you album to the world? What plans for the future?
We just started to write some new music, exploring some artistic paths that “The Canticle Of Shadows” opened to us. We are planning to release an EP not too far in terms of time. The Temple has to grow, and we don’t really want to wait too much. And of course, we want to play live as much as we can. Wherever there will be the need of our Rituals, we will go.
That’s great! Thank you Animæ for your time and congratulations for your fantastic album.
Thanks to you for your attention, your support and for your encouraging words about “The Canticle Of Shadows”. And thanks to everyone out there that will welcome Darkend into their Souls. No one of you will be forgotten.