I have reached a point where I have realised that writing reviews about black metal that I don't like is a waste of life. As a consequence, you'll see very few black metal reviews from my hand. I like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and that vein of black metal. Some would argue they have nothing to do with black metal anymore. I don't care what they are. I like them.
And then there are the bands that appear in the mailbox from time to time who manage strike a nerve with either a symphonic element, avant-garde or some other oddness. One thing you can be certain of is that I like my music to be produced, a fact which excludes the entire old school Norwegian black fraction right away. So be it.
The third album by French Darkenhöld has avoided my wastebin! Why? Because they, despite being decidedly black metal, have delivered a produced (!) effort with among other things symphonic elements.
They remind me of the first black metal album I listened to and actually truly liked, namely 'Enthrone Darkness Triumphant' by beforementioned Dimmu Borgir. Yes, we're talking 1997 stuff, both in mood and maturity, but these French blokes do it well and with conviction. Plus, very importantly, they display a diverse style of song writing that draws upon elements of heavy metal, thrash, rock and even a touch of folk (the theme is afterall the middle ages). Lots of atmosphere, lots of power, excellent album for those who like a bit of historic drama.