Memoria Sylvarum By Cervantes and Aldébaran
Cervantes: Darkenhöld is a group that draws its sources in the black metal of the 90's mainly, without forgetting the reference to the founding groups of the genre like Bathory, Celtic Frost, etc... for my part I discovered black metal in 1995, before beginning to listen seriously in 1996. I feel I have had the chance to follow the explosion of the genre in the 90's and to forge my ear in parallel with the emergence of all the bands that still constitute my cd reference library. For me, we never knew anything better in black metal than in the 90's. But I started listening to metal and hard rock with Iron Maiden, Manowar, Judas Priest, Metallica, Accept, Helloween, Motörhead, AC/DC, Guns n' Roses. I began with traditional heavy metal and then went into the speed, melodic and thrash, before opening the doors of black metal. Darkenhöld is also impregnated with heavy metal, in terms of structures like riffing at times, not forgetting work on guitar solos, not so widespread in black metal, which moreover appears more clearly on our new album ‘Memoria Sylvarum’, which presents an advance on this last point.
Aldébaran: As a composer, I would say that obviously, black metal genre has a big influence in the music of Darkenhöld and I could add different kinds of metal too like heavy, doom, thrash, death to some extent but there is a myriad of non-conscious musical backgrounds that may colour our music as well. As a musician, I practice the guitar along classical music, jazz, pop rock, medieval/folk/early music repertoire, 60s/70s rock, progressive and much more. So all these musical genres can be taken into consideration as well, and it would be hard to give here just a few names.
Cervantes: We have always tried to make things as independent as possible, including recording, ‘Memoria Sylvarum’ really represents a step for us: except the drums, recorded as always in the Coxinhell studio, all the other instruments and the spoken and murmured voices were recorded by Aldebaran at the Cryptic Studios. The extreme singing was recorded in one of the studios of the Altherax Music, a concert and rehearsal hall in Nice where we have our habits and where we gave many concerts, the last one with the American cult band Absu. Here too we recorded with our own material. To gain this freedom, it was necessary to invest in high-quality recording equipment. Aldébaran himself mixed and mastered the disc. So we can say that "Memoria Sylvarum" is the record that asked us the most work and investment, Aldébaran gave himself body and soul to materialize this album, and it was exhausting. But the album sounds as we had imagined and wished, with a craft approach, and we are proud to present a creation that respects as much our approach to the composition as of the sound production. We also released it in autonomy, via "Les éditions de la vieille tour”, which is our own creation. Again, we had the idea of publishing the most personal and independent record possible in terms of creativity, and I believe that it spoke to the public: to help us to bear the important financial cost of this approach, we launched a crowdfunding and we harvested enough money to limit the damage. It has helped us to fund CD production and new t-shirts, and we are very grateful to the public for participating in this campaign and for giving us confidence. We have also sent each of the contributors a small handmade and nominative certificate to show our appreciation. It's not much, but it's important for us.
Cervantes: Let Aldebaran will answer about the musical composition. For the lyrics, concerning the extra-musical influences, I must say that I am a lover of literature, I read a lot and it has necessarily an impact on my "style". I read of everything, but as curious as it may seem in regard to my words, I do not define myself at all like a fan of Heroic Fantasy: I basically stick with Howard, Tolkien, Salvatore, Moorcock. A non-negligible part of my non-musical background, in terms of images and atmospheres, also comes from video games: I have not played for many years, but I grew up with the first games of Nintendo and Sega, where there were plenty of titles including universes and adventures that marked me. I would like to mention The Legend of Zelda, Landstalker, The Immortal, Golden Axe, Rygar, Castlevania, Ghost'n goblins, Secret of Mana, Suikoden, etc. I also like painting (I suggested to Aldebaran the idea of paintings for the covers of our albums rather than drawings or other) and, to a lesser extent, I think that some films have inspired me more marginally. Finally, even though I am not such an accomplished prowler as Aldebaran, I really enjoy walking in nature, whether in the forest or in the mountains and of course I draw inspiration from it. I grew up in the countryside, not in the city, and it affected my sensitivity to the environment. The visit of fortified castles and places marked by past centuries always leaves me a memory mark, and it reappears in my writing.
Aldébaran: I agree with Cervantes that video games universe has an influence in our inspiration, I would add Amiga games like Shadow of the Beast or Sword of Sodan, they have definitively marked me. I could also quote HeroQuest board game and gamebooks like Fighting Fantasy series with for example “The Warlock of the Firetop Mountain” or “The Citadel of Chaos” books. Of course, my wanderings in the forests of Roquefort-les-Pins and its surroundings had a great impact on the creative process of “Memoria Sylvarum” and it has influenced our previous efforts too. Those pilgrimages around ancient and forgotten places that dwell in inhabited areas are the mains sources of inspiration for this album.
Cervantes: Darkenhöld is a group that practices a black metal very inspired by the 90's. We have a more melodic than brutal approach, and we seek above all to produce music with strong, dreamlike, epic atmospheres that unfold images impregnated by the Middle Ages: castles, ruins, impenetrable forests, landscapes. Have for credo to follow our heart and our approach, regardless of any business or fashion considerations. We are very attached to a sound envelope which, while remaining powerful, worked and audible, remains far from the contemporary treatments in terms of production, with these discs with interchangeable productions, watered down and over-products. We want our music to sound authentic, sincere, natural, but we also do not want to switch to the caricature of the sound "cave" and the technical approximation. We are not a Djent group, but we practice our instruments seriously in order to deliver a solid performance. On the other hand, our conceptual universe is far removed from Satanism and occultism, frequent in style, and turns more towards an exploration of a universe typed Heroic fantasy, but not in common sense: we do not talk about trolls and elves! In my lyrics, it refers to creatures, places, and characters of my invention, such as local places and legends of the South-East of France or French castles ... with always a small place for our animal emblem: the Wyvern.
Interview by Alex Milazzo - Copyright 2017 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.