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Coming from someone who dislikes DF, it's good. - 80%

Sigillum_Dei_Ameth, October 31st, 2009

Yeah and I'll even refrain myself from using the term "Dork Funeral" tag in my review for the sake of lack of maturity. I mean, Dark Funeral were one of those bands from the black metal genre that WERE musically good, but fell to the enemy of non-inspired albums that were way too over-polished and focused more on image and photo shoots that completely took any bit of credit away. A funny story of how a certain owner from a certain label sent a dead rat to them in a mailed box just to provoke some kind response, be it verbal, or physical and I remember how he said he did this in order to see if they were telling the truth on being actual Satanists and other big claims in fanzines back in the mid-90's after the second wave had experience complete burn-out. Well, the members of Dark Funeral replied back to him saying how completely appalled they were and that he was a sick person....suffice to say after that story, I have always viewed Dark Funeral as a band just about image and image alone.

But before even being told this story, I remember actually purchasing the album back in the day at Camelot Records at the local mall(I really miss that place!) and being amazed at the store being able to get the imports in. Remember this was 1996 and if you wanted to order an album back then, there was a huge book of albums much like a yellow page phone book's directory and number listings. And God help you if you were to order an album that was marked as "IMPORTED" because that would be 8 to 12 weeks. Well, eventually I got the album and was blown away by the extremity of the song titles, beautiful artwork, and even the music. But there was something missing from it...a lack of danger. Even Emperor seemed more dangerous than this when I first got into Black metal listening to the so-called "gateway" bands. But for it's lack of danger, I still found a lot of great qualities about this album.

First is the sound production. It's not squeaky clean or just complete Pro Tools-produced crap like Dark Funeral's other material. It's actually sitting firmly between raw and somewhat professional quality. It does have the edge where it still merits the music extreme. Second is the not ONLY the vocalist Themgoroth who should have fucking stayed with the band and probably would have been better not only for himself but the other members as well. BUT, also the line-up. The line up for the album "the Secrets of the Black Arts" was more than likely Dark Funeral's strongest line-up. If anything I'll give them that. Third and probably the best quality about this album is the amazing artwork it contains. The frozen blues mixed with ghostly spectral whites and hints of gravestone greys is amazing. The amazing Kristian "Necrolord" Wahlin really outdid himself with this one and ranks within my top 5 pieces from him. Even to this day the artwork actually helps the music remain at a very respectable level.

The music is what I refer to as average Swedish black metal. You have minor riffs with trembelo picking and blast-beats backing them up. Nothing fancy at all here. No amazing guitar solos, nothing that really sticks out. It's just average. Although there are more than a handful of songs that are great at being average if that makes any sense. Songs such as "My Dark Desires", "The Dawn No More Rises" and "The Fire Eternal" would count as the best cuts here, showcasing pretty good melodies, especially for Dark Funeral. Even the rest of the album has some great song titles..."Shadows Over Transilvania", "Bloodfrozen", and even "Satan's Mayhem" bring about a campy humor than rings "Welcome To hell"-era Venom. Even the lyrics to these songs are almost completely ridiculous. I mean how many different ways can you sing about Satan and his darkness? Again the lyrics have that Venom-like campy humor. But it's a good humor that you tend to welcome.

The majority of the time, I find myself simply enjoying this album without joy or prejudice so in my book that's perfectly fine. I rather have an album I can listen to without being annoyed rather than have an album that makes me want to vomit(in this case the following album "Vobsicum Satanas"). Unfortunately after this album Dark Funeral went straight down the shittier in my opinion and are on the verge of becoming the genre's equalivant to Gwar(Immortal are BM's equalivant to KISS if we are talking about comparisons), only Gwar being actually funnier and more entertaining while Dark Funeral gain weight, drink crappy lite beer, and still sing about Satan. There, I have made my peace with so many years of trying to forget them, may I fall asleep tonight and try to go another 13 years of forgetting them even more.