Immediately, their trademark sound is in place – clear & crushing riffs, grooves like a tank, an overall world-eating sensibility – but delve deeper and one will find Darkened expanding their already-considerable powers. Most prominently, there’s a surprising amount of atmosphere being explored on The Black Winter, true to its namesake. The resultant spaciousness is somehow just as suffocating as the band’s now-characteristic density; whether it’s in the riffing itself or the very subtle touches of synth underneath, the album certainly bears a unique-yet-unified aspect.
From there, melancholic twists and wistful melody are seamlessly integrated into the Darkened onslaught of sound, which alternately pushes the aggression to murderous levels and the doom to the darkest depths; put another way, everything here sounds HUGE. And credit for that must go to Linus Nirbrant, who handled The Black Winter’s production, as well as mixing & mastering by the Dan Swanö at Unisound – truly, one will not find a clearer yet more crushing death metal record this year!
"Black Winter may be nothing new, but that in no way means this album doesn’t slay. With plenty of melodic grooves, thunderous drums and an aggressive onslaught of vocals, Black Winter will make you remember why you fell in love with death metal in the first place."
"This is one of the few albums where it feels like we could get away with a review that just points at the album art and going ‘c’mon! c’mon! you now what this is! you’re reading No Clean Singing right now!’, and if we haven’t fallen completely up our own assholes and premiered something like a tuba player ripping a massive solo over the sound of a train passing by their window then you can be safely assured this is some solid death metal. World shattering? Nope. Good time following a well written blueprint? You bet."
"Darkened are skull crushers, grinding bone to dust and repeatedly leaving listeners in awe of the power of their unique brand of death metal. This is the genre executed at an incredibly high level, you need it in your life. I am utterly in love."
"Darkened confirms the impression made by its previous releases: the band knows exactly what it is doing. Anchored in a Swedish Old School sound, The Black Winter is by turns aggressive, icy and catchy while proposing more majestic or dissonant elements, making it a varied and imposing album."