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"Diabolis Interium" was meant to strike me without warning, a black lightning summoned up from darkest depths aimed at my Metal heart. First, I didn't know anything about this album being made and released, and it was quite a moment when I was this classy faux-leather digipack at the local record store. I didn't hesitate to pick it up, as I really enjoyed the band's older material, and soon found myself engulfed in raging flames of ageless fury.
After quite a long hiatus, Dark Funeral are back with a vengeance: "Diabolis Interium" retains all the band's trademark elements taking them to a whole new level, as well as adding new igredients to their venomous essence. The unique wall of sound created by those deep, overpowering guitars is still there, the furious drumming is relentless as ever, and the vocals are still totally inhuman and insane... yet, the playing is more cohesive than ever, and the strength of the material is compromiseless.
A good deal of this improvement clearly comes from having a full line-up once more. Along with founding member Lord Ahriman and scramer extraordinaire Emperor Magus Caligula we find the likes of Dominion (who had also contributed with some guitars on the band's previous EP, "Teach Children To Worship Satan"), whose full and precise style prefectly complements Ahriman's trademark chords and tremolos, and an apocalyptc earthquake skin trashing machine disguised as a human being named Matte Modin (formerly of Infernal, ex-member Blackmoon's new band). Yes, the drum work on this album is nothing short of unbelievable. It's damn fast, yet powerful never sloppy or lacking precision (unlike some sections on "Vobiscum Satanas"). Generally the songs sound a lot more solid and cohesive, and without a doubt Matte's drumming is a decisive contribution to such a great result.
As usual, the devastation begins right away from the very first second of "The Arrival of Satan's Empire", a typical Dark Funeral hymn to cosmic destruction, only even faster and possibly more hateful. The riffs are faster and cleverly built, showcasing right from the start a more mature songwriting; Caligula screams his lungs out more powerfully than ever without sacrificing clarity and as usual adds some deep growls here and there, switching between the two styles flawlessly.
"Hail Murder", the second stormblast, underlines the band's creative progression even more effectively. A pretty long song by Dark Funeral's standards (a bit more than five minutes), it sports a rich collection of great riffs linked together through smooth and clever key changes, all of this spiced by a slow, pounding chorus.
"Goddess of Sodomy" isn't as strong musically but even more suprising. Why? Because this song is SLOW!! That's right, a slow song in a Dark Funeral album, and for being their first foray in this territory it comes off rather good. It gets repetitive after a while, honestly, but it's short enough not to get blatantly boring.The lyrics are also worth a chuckle, with memorable lines such as "every single hole in you is mine", "I hear you groan, you want me inside" or even "I control your desire, with my godlike white salted wine"... sublime, highest poetry.I wonder if Caligula's wife ever read these lines...
The title track is next and brings back Dark Funeral on the beaten path with unparalleled intensity, once again displaying a considerable amount of great riffs and playing skills.
"An Apprentice of Satan" is a true Dark Funeral epic ever which had already appeared as the previously unreleased track on the "Teach Children To Worship Satan" EP. This version has been rerecorded by the new line-up, and it blends perfectly with the rest of the material, and manages to top the previous version thanks to a tighter performance and a more inspired vocal work from Caligula. Several tempo and riff changes make it a highly entertaining listen, and its inpressive length (around six minutes) doesn't really show.
"Thus I Have Spoken" begins with a slow, heavy intro which in turn becomes yet another supersonic riff; the song has a very particular rhythmic structure, shifting between quaternary and ternary tempos (yes, Lestat, you're right). Again, the band's progression into being more mature songwriters and performers shines.
"Armageddon Finally Comes" is the album's shortest offering, a no frills jackhammer song which sticks more to the band's traditional repertoire; it's slightly less interesting than the rest riff-wise but after two layered songs such as "An Apprentice of Satan" and "This I Have Spoken" works great as a small break; besides, musical violence has rarely been delivered with such competent intensity (to be more specific: even the most aggressive parts on "Diabolis Interium" never sound liked just a messy floodwave of white noise).
The grand finale comes in the form of "Heart of Ice", a great infernal symphony featuring a slow and menacing intro and outro, and more fantastic riffs and tonality shifts inbetween. One last song, one last highlight.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this album to anyone who never heard Dark Funeral as an introduction. It's definitely their most varied, competent and enjoyable, with the only drawback of being maybe too short but no Dark Funeral release has ever been known for its length. Even those who weren't really impressed by the band's previous outputsmight want to check this out. Very highly recommended.