The next song is Of The Defunct that follows a similar pattern to Clavicula Salomanis, It begins with footsteps, a creaky door and monks chanting, then the song starts with slow sweeping guitars ofset with crushing blastbeats. The vocals are drawn out and demonic which leads me to believe it's actually guest vocalist Attila Csihar (of Mayhem, Aborym etc). He's apparently the first of four guest vocals on this album, which seems excessive when there's only seven songs anyway. To be honest, I know I'm not an aficionado of this genre but, after several listens through I'm still not sure where the guests crop up or which of them is which. Anyway, I digress. Of The Defunct is just under nine minutes but it doesn't seem to drag its heels or meander along at all. About halfway through, everything drops away and in its stead there's just the sounds of someone digging (a grave?) and occasional single notes of a piano. Gradually strings build up with a tune very similar to the intro of Clavicula Salomanis. It works great to build atmosphere. The song as a whole is excellent.
Next is Il Velo Delle Ombre the shortest song on the album that again starts slowly with just strings and vocals. Animae growls along with the monk chants also making an appearance. This continues until after a couple of minutes the band crunch in and the symphonics ramp up. It's quite a slow song compared to the rest. It also apparently features guest vocals from Labes C.N. from Abymal Grief but I didn't notice! I think that Animae does utilise several vocal styles is making harder to tell what's him and what's the guest vocalist. I'm not just me being woefully inadequate. I hope.
Next up is the song with an even more unwieldy song title than A Passage Through Abyssal Caverns (Inmost Chasm, I). It goes by the cumbersome name of A Passage Through Abysmal Caverns (Inmost Chasm, II). This song features the vocals of Niklas Kvarforth (From the Swedish Black metal band Shining not the Norwegian Progressive Black Jazz Metal Shining.) He's a little easier to pick out than the others as there's some nice vocal interplay between the two of them. I'm assuming that's hin, I'm going to to look even more stupid if it's not! It's a surprisingly linear song for one that's almost nine minutes long and could maybe have done to have lost a couple of them. It's still pretty good though,
The penultimate song is Sealed In Black Moon and Saturn. There's not much in the way of abruptly quiet passages or an atmospheric intro, just full on pounding attack, tempered somewhat by the dramatic symphonics. That said it does drop out a little towards the end. It's the perfect mix of aggression and menace. I like this song a lot.
The final song then is Congressus Cum Dæmone and this one features the final guest vocalist in Sakis Tolis from Rotting Christ. The opening twin guitar leads is very Power Metal but they don't stay long. The song as a whole is quite a subdued end to the album;the blastbeats are still there but the rest of the song is restrained, slow and melodic. It's actually quite a dramatic end to the album as the song feel very apocalyptic.
Darkend might not be a band I'd normally listen to and lurk in a genre I don't normally have much dealings with but I enjoyed The Canticle Of Shadows a lot. It's well done, interesting and damn heavy, Some of the songs could do to be a little shorter and if the guests vocalists were hard to pick out then maybe they were unnecessary and the band should rely on their own talents rather than bringing in big (relatively speaking) names to garner attention. They have more than enough talent on their own,
7 out of 10 - This is good and well worth a check
Best Track - Sealed In Black Moon And Saturn
You can listen to The Canticle Of Shadows on Spotify HERE
You can buy it from Bandcamp HERE