Enfold Darkness is an American blackened death metal band. While they have never been a particularly big act and have picked up something of a reputation for their troubled history, they have nonetheless managed to become a well-liked act that is renowned for their tenacity and resolve in spite of their numerous trial and tribulations.
Formed in Nashville, Tennessee in 2006 by a mostly unknown lineup that was helmed by Matt Brown (guitars, vocals), Josh Brown (drums) and AJ Lewandowski (bass), the band quickly built up a local reputation. The original vocalist and bassist were apparently not cut out for their duties in the band, however, and after kicking them out, Justin Corser and James Turk were welcomed in on those spots, while Jack Blackburn replaced Josh Brown on drums. The ensuring Before the Final Reckoning demo quickly picked up steam regionally and, more importantly, online, and after catching the eye of Michael Keene when they opened for The Faceless at some point in 2007 or 2008, they were signed to Sumerian Records, while Mike Low joined in on guitar at some point during this stretch of time. Our Cursed Rapture, their debut full-length, was released in late 2009 right as they started touring nationally, though Mike Low left sometime before its release and had his spot filled by Turk once again, while AJ Lewandowski came back as a live member for the early runs. The other lead guitar spot was taken by Malcolm Pugh at some point in 2010, and the touring continued for the rest of 2010 and 2011; by the end of 2011, Malcolm Pugh was out, and in his place came the local young gun Elijah Whitehead. "Lairs of the Ascended Masters", their first new track in almost three years, emerged in early 2012, while Blackburn left shortly after to join Vital Remains and Corser himself ducked out not long after, and the band as a whole parted ways with Sumerian Records. The band enlisted Chason Westmoreland to handle live commitments for the rest of the year, while Adrian Perez (Warforged) joined on what was supposed to be a full-time live basis before bailing himself, which repeated itself when Josh Brown came and went again between 2012 and 2013. The drummer woes were solved when Greg Vance joined in 2013, while Matt Brown eventually gave up the guitar spot to do vocals in 2014. A more dedicated bassist was found in 2015, when Todd Honeycutt stepped up, and the band signed to Malcolm Pugh's label The Artisan Era and released "The Dirge of the Surrogate Invictus", a new single. The band then prepared to embark on a West Coast tour that fall, but that then fell through after Greg Vance's then-girlfriend was in a car accident several days before the start of the tour. 2016 then brought another hurdle, as Matt Brown converted to Islam and left the band, and after a semi-prolonged search for a vocalist, they snagged Andy Nelson. 2017 brought a proper return to the recording studio, and Adversary Omnipotent, their first full-length in almost eight years, was released that July to glowing reviews. It appeared as if the band had finally caught a break.
That all changed on August 31, 2017, when Todd Honeycutt committed suicide several days after leaving the band after a major blowup with the other members and was found by Whitehead in his garage. The band once again fell into inactivity as a traumatized Whitehead fell into a deep depression, and they spent virtually all of 2018 with no activity save for one live show. Around the beginning of 2019, they reemerged somewhat, as Whitehead announced that a new album was in the works, and they slowly began to play shows again. While the rest of the details are hazy, they are back, and will likely begin to steadily increase their activity level as the year goes on.
- Before the Final Reckoning (2006) (demo)
- Our Cursed Rapture (2009)
- Lairs of the Ascended Masters (2012) (pre-production single)
- The Dirge of the Surrogate Invictus (2015) (single)
- Adversary Omnipotent (2017)
The band contains examples of the following tropes:
- Bald of Awesome: Greg Vance.
- Black Metal: Heavily influenced by melodic black metal, and while they have moved more and more towards melodic death metal with time, they have always maintained a heavy undercurrent of this.
- The Chew Toy: Their entire history as a band can best be described as one gigantic string of misfortunes, lost opportunities, and tragedies, all of which they have soldiered on through. This was best illustrated by the end of 2015, when Greg Vance's then-girlfriend was in a car accident literal days before they were supposed to go on tour, and then Greg himself wound up getting his own car wrecked several months later.
- The Chosen One: Im'maud'hi, who is the last living Sali'un and the man destined to restore them.
- Concept Album: Adversary Omnipotent tells the story of Im'maud'hi and his quest to destroy Na'ak Ba'ran and his mortal vessel Ik'thran'ithul. "Our Cursed Rapture", while not on the same album, nonetheless helped set up the story.
- Dastardly Whiplash: Justin Corser was famous for his handlebar mustache, as was Adrian Perez for his brief run in the band.
- Epic Rocking: "The Sanctuaries" (8:30), "Vanish into Damnation" (8:13), "The Dirge of the Surrogate Invictus" (7:07), "The Adversary, Omnipotent" (6:41), "The Test of Wisdom" (6:38), and "The Sacred Daemonic" (6:03).
- HeelFaith Turn: Matt Brown's reason for departure, as he converted to Islam and initially treated music as haram; while he did eventually return to music after consulting with his imam, life kept him from being able to actually get his new project off the ground until 2019, when Demon King was formally announced.
- He Who Fights Monsters: By "Summoning the Archons", Im'maud'hi has given up on ever restoring the Sali'un and has become every bit as evil as the king he is seeking to kill, and there is simply no way that it is going to end well.
- In Name Only: There were no original members left by 2016, though James Turk had been in the band for the vast majority of their career, and Elijah Whitehead had been the second-in-command before Matt Brown left.
- Lead Drummer: Jack Blackburn was renowned for his incredible speed, power, and precision and was a onetime World's Fastest Drummer winner, in addition to being something of a legend in certain USBM circles for his longtime presence in Alex Poole's various projects (namely Chaos Moon), while Greg Vance is known for his role in the Nashville regional scene.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Lairs of the Ascended Masters": "AMNU NA'AK BERU - NA'AK BA'RAN!"
- Melodic Death Metal: They have always been somewhere between this and blackened death metal, and it is the direction that they have mostly settled on circa Adversary Omnipotent.
- Metal Scream: Justin Corser was known for his Type 3s, while Andy Nelson is closer to a Type 1.
- Revolving Door Band: Their single biggest issue for most of their career; they simply could not keep a lineup, and their difficulties with keeping vocalists and bassists in particular have meant that members of the band would often switch back and forth between roles.
- Special Guest: Chason Westmoreland was strictly a live fill-in, while Malcolm Pugh has contributed multiple guest leads outside of his time in the band and Mike Low also contributed a guest lead after leaving, and Colin Butler (Virulent Depravity) delivered his own guest lead on "The Sacred Daemonic".
- Start My Own: Subverted with Adrian Perez and Warforged, as they did exist in some fashion prior to his brief run with Enfold Darkness. He has openly acknowledged Enfold Darkness' influence on their earliest works, however. Played straight with Matt Brown and Demon King, as he started the project sometime after leaving Enfold Darkness and clearing future musical ventures with his imam, but life got in the way until 2019, when he was able to get James Turk and Jack Blackburn in to help out.
- Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: "Vanish into Damnation".