Review by Felix on August 14, 2022.
When it comes to black metal, Denmark stands in the shadow of its Scandinavian neighbours since the creation of time. Yet this is not to say that the country is a white spot on the genre’s landmap. For instance, the lone wolf who runs Blackhorned has released some proper full-lengths. They do not deserve attributes like specatcular or innovative, but they reflect the majestic dimension of black metal in an adequate way. “Dark Season”, released in 2010, offers nearly 48 minutes without any external influences. It’s just pure blackness and thus I believe we do not need to have doubts concerning the integrity of its creator.
The album does not invite the listener to a feast of brutality. I am listening to mid-harsh black metal. The single tracks can rely on a good flow. Everything develops in a natural way. Okay, this means that surprising twists and turns do not show up and any form of progressive song structures is missing here. Nevertheless, the somehow monolithic approach of highlights like “The Edge of Nothingness” makes me prick up my ears. Blackhorned have a fine instinct for the design of their songs. Therefore we get tunes that have a profound depth with being inaccessible. It seems as if it no great challenge for Atziluth to find the right balance between these poles.
No song is boring. Nevertheless, it feels good to experience a certain degree of variability here. The pretty fast and quite aggressive beginning of “At the Hours of Dying” sets a new impulse in the centre of the album. It’s the first track with a more or less icy touch. Anyway, the Danish guy prefers consistency. Therefore, his voice knows only one (rough) tone for the most part, the lyrics deal with the usual topics (“black streams of water and blood lead me to the black hole”) and the guitars celebrate the expected, genre-compatible melodies. And there is nothing wrong with this approach. Black metal needs height, depth and width and Blackhorned take care of the letter.
The well-hung riffing of the slightly fatalistic “In Thy Name” adds a tragic touch, but mostly the album wallows in a somber, aggressive aura. The production supports this atmosphere, because it finds the balance between a dark basic tone and the necessary amount of directness. The sound of “Dark Season” does not score with a transparent appearance, but, much more important, it underlines the spirituality of the music. The same goes for the colourless design of artwork, back cover and booklet. so it is true to say that "Dark Season" could not, of course, break the superiority of Sweden, Norway and Finland. Nevertheless, it is a release worth listening to. I can recommend it to all those who prefer to keep their black metal in a predictable form.
Rating: 7.7 out of 10209