Some times it just sucks to be small in the big world of (black) metal; in this case that translates to being the nobody, that doesn’t get an example of the album prior to the date of official release. I had all the intentions of getting this review out a week ago, but it clashed with other projects, so it had to wait..
It’s been a while since we’ve last heard something from the Swedish legends Dark Funeral; “Angelus Exuro pro Eternus” being their latest offering, dating back to 2009. In the time being since then, they have been making most headlines when changing members; an almost ever changing lineup, that today is made up of Lord Ahriman (guitar), Chaq Mol (guitar), Dominator (drums) and Heljarmadr(vocals).
Heljarmadr made his recording debut in Dark Funeral, on the late 2014 single “Nail them to the cross”; taking over the vocal duties from Emperor Magus Caligula who left in 2010, and those are some big shoes to fill. Nachtgarm of course filled the slot just prior to Heljarmadr – without resulting in any released material. So the big the question is whether this a match made in hell, as they intended..?
The short answer would be, yes. The former Cursed 13 vocalist does a great job on this album, and I consider him to be a great successor; his shrieky vocal, as well as growls, fits the Dark Funeral universe perfectly.
Earlier this year, the band celebrated the twentieth anniversary of their magnum opus “The secrets of the black arts”, one of my all-time favourite black metal albums. This time around they have asked Necrolord who did the cover-art back then, to work his magic yet again. Using the similar color scheme, and resulting in a quite similar look of the two covers.
To be honest, it’s not just the cover that resembles something from 1996; this is Dark Funeral as we know them. Lord Ahriman and the rest of the band aren’t the ones to expect big surprises from, but in this case it isn’t a bad thing. Make no mistake, the still know how to make a catchy riff and write dark satanic lyrics – and they definitely haven’t got any worse at it, over the last twenty years. Quite the opposite in fact.
While this review is written by a fan, I would consider this to be an album for all fans of melodic black metal. Some of the strongest tracks on the album counts the previously relased singles “Unchain my soul”, “Temple of Ahriman”, “Nail them to the cross” and the closing title track, “Where shadows forever reign”. Neither of them are a bad place to start if you want to hear what Dark Funeral sounds like in 2016.
You should go and judge for yourself, but in my opinion; If you thought this band was a has-been, you were wrong.
“I open the doors to the other side,
where everything is so old
I’m leaving this world and I enter the void
where the shadows forever reign.”