Considering “canticle” literally translates to “psalm” or “hymn”, this is a very apt album title. If you are a fan of the best aspects of early melodic black metal for a new era, then this is your album. This hymn which has orchestral bits, and choral chants, and even tastefully placed horn sections, will easily leave the listener ensorcelled. The theme of the album is made clear with the first track: “Clavicula Salomonis”, which from Latin translates to the Key of Solomon, which is a two part grimoire dating back to the 15th century Italian Renaissance. The first book, had conjurations and such to summon and constrain spirits, and the second contained “purifications” (think exorcisms, but with animal sacrifice). Opening with a choral chant with some backing violin and chimes, going into a haunting piano riff, then right into a full assault of melodic black metal. Everything you hear on the album, is tasteful, from the breakdowns, to the solo or duet instrumental interludes, to the insertions of Latin and Italian whispers, chants, and lyrics, which adds to the immersion. The first track ends with a creepy enough vibe to lead into footsteps into a hallway with some catholic chant in the background. Scathing melodies erupt from the guitars, and the vocalist has a chance to display the enormous diversity of his throat.
The album continues on as such, song after song, taking you down the path the bear witness to the journey only bands such as DarkEnd can provide. In Inmost Chasm 1, they threw in a greasy sax solo that I found rather pleasant. Midway through the album, they have a large choral introduction to an epic and repeating dirge that drones on as your mind wanders through the vast oblivion. Inmost Chasm 2, offers beautiful, yet grim melodic harmonies and have a vibe reminiscent of Belphegor. Proving that it is non-stop crushing epic after crushing epic, the second to last song, almost gives a call to war, and has a serious feeling of mournful aggression. It is hard to tell which is the climax, but this makes for one hell of a denouement. Leading to a strong and even chaotic finish. Once again I just have to gawk at this guys vocal talent. If someone said early -to-mid Graveworm and Dark Fortress had a lovechild and it was DarkEnd, I would believe it. Overall just a blast to listen to. Laced with guitar and sax and orchestral solos, tasteful melodies and overtones spawning an epic and entrancing atmosphere, if you don't go out and check this album on the 26th of April, when it's released, you are missing out on what could turn out to be one of the years top.