Released by: Century Media
Genre: Black metal
Release date: Out now!!!
Lord Ahriman bass guitar
Chaq Mol (Bo Karlsson) guitar
Dominator (Nils Fjellström) drums
Heljarmadr (Andreas Vingbäck) vocals
Gustaf Hielm session bass guitar
1.Unchain My Soul
2.As One We Shall Conquer
3.Beast Above Man
4.As I Ascend
5.Temple Of Ahriman
6.The Eternal Eclipse
7.To Carve Another Wound
8.Nail Them To The Cross
9.Where Shadows Forever Reign
Dark Funeral is a Swedish black metal band from Stockholm, Sweden, founded by guitarists Blackmoon and Lord Ahriman in 1993. They emerged during the second wave of black metal. Their lyrical themes have traditionally pertained to Satanism and anti Christianity. Certain past and present members including Blackmoon, Ahriman, Caligula and Chaq Mol have each declared an affinity for Satanism, with Ahriman and Caligula notably being practitioners of LaVeyan Satanism. In their earlier years, their lyrical themes usually revolves specifically around depictions of Hell and Satan. After Emperor Magus Caligula joined the band, their lyrics came to focus more on blasphemy and anti Christian rhetoric, although there have been several exceptions to this.
A legacy in black metal as genuine and mighty as Dark Funeral’s is difficult to achieve. In a genre that often prides itself on being unpopular, and usually loses itself within a heap of stereotypes, the band have burned their way to the top of extreme metal without being fake – ever. What draws me towards the music of Dark Funeral are the catchy leads, relentless drums and the sometimes atmospheric vibes, reminds me of Dissection. Their music absolutely reeks of evil and gives the listener a weird sense of power. Right from their debut these black metal giants have been spitting out quality black metal albums. However, there has been little activity with respect to the music since their last album ‘Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus’. There’s been a bit of drama with long time vocalist Emperor Magus Caligula leaving. After a long break of seven years, the band is back with their new offering ‘Where Shadows Forever Reign’.
Dark Funeral is still very much the band of its founder and lead guitarist, Lord Ahriman, whose guitar work is the very blood that flows through the album, often electrifying and near boiling. It’s what gives ‘Where Shadows Forever Reign’’ its vitality. The album’s production, too, introduces it all in an interesting fashion. On the first several tracks, the riffs take backseat to Heljarmadr’s vocals and Dominator’s expertly defined blast beats. A refreshing choice, as the riffs supporting them are killer as well, especially on “As One We Shall Conquer”. The riffs are formally introduced on “Temple of Ahriman” among a much slower and stylized pace. This sort of reverent service is maintained through “Eternal Eclipse” and “To Carve Another Wound”, as the band restrains themselves in order for Ahriman and Heljarmadr to address among violent threats and forthcoming riffs. Such threats are then made good upon in “Nail Them To the Cross” and “Where Shadows Forever Reign” by reintroducing explosive blast beats and surfacing Ahriman’s riffs, whether pleasantly clashing or catchy as all hell. The title track is especially fantastic, as it finds Ahriman and Heljarmadr at their most cohesive, winding melodies around each other and matching each other in both despair and continuous confidence.
Compared to Emperor Magus Caligula, Heljarmadr has a very traditional approach to black metal vocals. The opening track “Unchain My Soul” gets things going and stands as one of the best tracks on the album, my personal favourite. Heljarmadr’s venomous vocals smash forth, leading the Immortal esque charge of the guitars and drums. Mixing in touches of melody, “Unchain My Soul” is a great representation of the album. “Beast Above Man” follows with mid paced Dissection melodies and sinister croaks, which gives a decent flow that sets up the melodic and atmospheric “As I Ascend.” Heljarmadr’s desperate delivery on here is the perfect contrast to the opener’s ripping rasps. In the end, ‘Where Shadows Forever Reign’’ just doesn’t stand out next to an album like ‘Diabolis Interium’, and it just barely tops their 2009 release, ‘Angelus Exuro pro Eternus’. “Nail Them to the Cross” is perhaps the catchiest of the album, but even that is textbook Dark Funeral.
With that being said, ‘Where Shadows Forever Reign’ is an album which will delight Dark Funeral fans who might have been worrying what would happen to the band. It is a non-sense, back to perfection album which will get you excited to see what the band will produce next. They’ve taken the safe route but I can understand why, and I’m interested in seeing where the band goes with its music after this major lineup change.
Check out the official video for “Unchain My Soul” below:
Written by: Danielle Bates