After the black/epic metal pioneers DARKWOODS MY BETROTHED reemerged from the depths of doom after a 23-year dormancy with their first single “In Evil, Sickness and in Grief” off the upcoming album, Angel of Carnage Unleashed (out November 12, 2021 via Napalm Records), the Finnish foursome takes it up a notch with their thrilling second single, “Murktide and Midnight Sun”!
The original line-up of DARKWOODS MY BETROTHED has rejoined forces, now augmented by Tuomas Holopainen as a full member of the band and Kai Hahto (both of Nightwish) as session drummer. “Murktide and Midnight Sun” showcases the epic, folk and Viking elements that are characteristic of the band’s sound. With a blend of Pasi Kankkunen‘s clean warrior vocals, majestic choirs, heavy guitar riffs and Kai Hahto’s pounding drums, DARKWOODS MY BETROTHED present a hymn of true black epic metal!
DARWOODS MY BETROTHED on their new single:
“It was very important for us when choosing the singles off the new album to demonstrate the versatility of our sound: how we can put forward a blasting black metal carnage with tortured shrieks and follow that up with an epic anthem with clean vocals – and the two songs definitely sound like the same band. Epic songs and clean vocals have always been part of our trademark sound and “Murktide and Midnight Sun” is absolutely one of the finest and catchiest epic anthems that we have recorded.”
Angel of Carnage Unleashed contains eight songs written by the three musicians who founded the band in 1993: Pasi Kankkunen, Jouni Mikkonen and Teemu Kautonen (with substantial creative inputs from the fourth member Tuomas Holopainen). It sets free a unique blend of brutal, fast-driven black metal and epic anthems, in which eerie screams merge with heroic clean vocals, monumental choirs and majestic keyboards along with gory stories of famine, war, plague and the inescapable brutality of Finland’s nature in the era of the Great Northern War (1700-1721). It explores how Finns experienced the many manifestations of the Angel of Carnage, sent by God to punish them for their sins.
Guitarist Jouni Mikkonen on Tuomas Holopainen now being a full member of the band:
“‘Tuomas was featured as a session keyboardist on all previous albums. This time he was fully on board from the moment we decided to make this album and hence it was natural for him to become a full band member. He also made a substantial contribution to the creative process.”
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Angel of Carnage Unleashed track listing:
1. Name the Dead
2. In Evil, Sickness and in Grief
3. Murktide and Midnight Sun
4. You Bitter Source of Sorrow
5. Where We Dwell
6. In Thrall to Ironskull’s Heart
8. Black Fog and Poison Wind
The album opener “Name the Dead” sets off with atmospheric organ tunes but leaves no scope for weakness, as only a few seconds later storming drums, aggressive riffs and raging growls set the stage for everything that is about to come: brutal soundscapes spliced with epic accents! The second track, “In Evil, Sickness and in Grief”, pierces through the core with a poisoning vocal attack and contrasting operatic female background layers, followed by the heavily stomping “You Bitter Source of Sorrow” and “Where We Dwell” with its haunting, all-consuming keyboard passages. “In Thrall to Ironskull’s Heart” showcases the multifaceted character of DARKWOODS MY BETROTHED with an almost balladic start, which evolves into an uptempo, epic journey into the Battle of Napue (1714). The title of the penultimate track “Massacre” conveys the track’s musical direction with precision: expect in-your-face blastbeats and gory lyrics. The final song “Black Fog and Poison Wind” unleashes a sonic monster once more, combining aggression, haunting soundscapes and evil melodies, before Angel of Carnage Unleashed ends with the tunes of a soundtrack-like outro.
Bassist Teemu Kautonen on the album:
“The lyrics are based on the work of the renowned Finnish historian Teemu Keskisarja. His research inspired us both to carefully embed all lyrics in the appropriate historical context and to bring forth the human dimension by focusing on stories of individual people and how they experienced this perhaps darkest period of Finnish history.”
Vocalist/guitarist Pasi Kankkunen adds:
“’It was very important for us to have the original line-up on the comeback album. We also agreed right at the beginning of the process to share the songwriting in equal proportions – just as we did on the 1996 classic album, Autumn Roars Thunder.”
DARKWOODS MY BETROTHED are:
Pasi Kankkunen – vocals, guitar
Jouni Mikkonen – guitar
Teemu Kautonen – bass, backing vocals
Tuomas Holopainen – keyboards
Kai Hahto – drums (session)