Early years (1993-1994)
Darkwoods My Betrothed (DMB) was founded in 1993 in Kitee, Finland by the trio of Pasi Kankkunen (aka Emperor Nattasett; vocals), Teemu Kautonen (aka Hexenmeister; bass) and Jouni Mikkonen (aka Hallgrim; guitars). Moreover, all studio albums featured two session musicians: Tero Leinonen on drums and Tuomas Holopainen on keyboards.
Initially, and tongue firmly held in cheek, the band set out to be the ‘most blasphemous black metal band in Europe’. The first demo tape ‘Reborn in the Promethean Flame’ was released in 1993. It contained a bunch of brutal in-your-face black metal blasts inspired by the early Bathory albums and the emerging Norwegian bands such as Burzum, Darkthrone and Immortal.
It wasn’t until the second demo tape ‘Dark Aureoles Gathering’ (1994) that the band began to gain widespread attention in the black metal underground. While not compromising on the brutality, the four new songs featured on that demo introduced melodic elements somewhat reminiscent of Emperor and Pasi’s tortured shrieking redefined what extreme meant in black metal vocals. The demo tape was distributed in about 800 copies around the world. The band still vividly remembers ordering more and more batches of tapes and cover slips, putting them together by hand, and hauling boxes of tapes to the post office.
Studio albums (1995-1998)
The demo tape attracted the attention of South Korea’s Hammerheart Records, who approached DMB with a record deal in 1994. Filled with excitement, the band accepted and started writing material for their debut album. Based on tips from musician friends, the band chose Studio Walltone in Savonlinna for the recordings. The album ‘Heirs of the Northstar’ was released in 1995 and reinforced the band’s cult reputation in the black metal underground. In addition to the brand of melodic black metal established on the second demo tape, the album introduced two new elements that made it stand out from the rest of the black metal releases of the day: massive epic songs with clean vocals (referred to by the band as ‘drunken Viking’ or ‘elk horn’) and hauntingly beautiful keyboard parts. Lyrically, the album dealt with Viking mythology and Nordic romanticism.
For the sophomore album, the band moved to Germany’s Solistitium Records, which was quickly gaining foothold as a premium label in the black metal underground scene. While the debut album was largely written by Jouni and Teemu, Pasi took a more active role in the songwriting for the second album. In fact, the music for the album was written roughly equally by the three founding members. The epic elements were even more pronounced and the ‘elk horn’ vocals more refined on ‘Autumn Roars Thunder’ (1996) – but of course without forgetting the ball-crushing black metal blasts that the band was famous for. The lyrical themes on the second album dealt with Finnish history and romanticism focussing on the Middle Ages.
In 1997 the band decided to focus solely on producing black metal, while moving the epic elements to a spin-off band called Furthest Shore, operated by Pasi and Teemu. At that time, Teemu also formally left the band in order to focus on Furthest Shore and his other projects at the time (Nattvindens Gråt, Wizzard). After several delays, the third album ‘Witch-Hunts’ was released by Spinefarm Records in 1998.
From a long dormancy to resurrection in 2020
After 1998, the band performed several live concerts in Finland with varying session line-ups, but it did not create new music since the release of ‘Witch-Hunts’ – until now!
While for years the pagan flame of DMB was but a fleeting glimpse in the nocturnal darkness of Eastern Finland, it never faded away completely. In 2020 Jouni, Pasi, Teemu and Tuomas (now as a full member of the band) decided it was time to continue the story and started writing material for the fourth studio album. The recordings took place in February 2021 with Kai Hahto as session drummer and Tero 'TeeCee' Kinnunen as engineer and co-producer with the band.
On 12 November 2021, ‘Angel of Carnage Unleashed’ was released by Napalm Records and it is available on all streaming services, CD and (from 14 January 2022 onwards) as 2LP gatefold vinyl.