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Swedish Black metal! - 90%

absurder21, March 5th, 2010

The main reason I like black and death metal is that I love sinister and dark sounding music, and let me tell you now, this album defiantly does not disappoint when it comes to that. Maybe it’s because Swedish black metal tends to be far more satanic ,(I can’t really think of any main game Norwegian bands that took Satanism past their demos at all except for Gorgoroth), but this definitely one of the most sinister albums I have ever heard.

The riffs on this are some of the fastest riffs to come out of the Scandinavian black metal scenes at the time and I’m surprised Demonaz got tendinitis before any of these guys. While the riffs are fast, it also barely lacks the problem a lot of bands had in that they were really thin. Now, these riffs aren’t as thick as say, death metal, but it definitely has far more timbre then Darkthrone, Kvist or Bathory. A vital factor for this is probablly because Dark Funeral is one of few bands to actually properly utilize bass in black metal. It’s not overwhelming, but one can definitely tell there is a thickness being added to the music via Themgoroths bass chops. The tone of the guitars is that sort of buzzing hornets sound that has become somewhat popular nowadays with black metal bands such as 1349, and it really helps to add a sinister vibe to them album. This band also isn’t stupid in that they know they can’t work on pure head banging riffs alone. While the riffs are fast and chaotic, there is a sense of melody to them that makes it far easier to get into them. Equimanthorn’s drum work on this album is absolutely phenomenal and totally fits with the music, but the problem is that every song starts off with the exact same beat. It sort of makes it hard to decipher when songs have changed and after awhile you will be sitting there thinking why the riffs are so different yet it’s still the same song, and you realize your half way through the next song. It’s pretty much your general black metal drumming, blast beats and snare and symbol smashes. Simple, yet extremely effective.

The vocals on this are somewhere in the middle ground in terms of timbre. Not really high pitched liked Emperor, but not really low like Beherit, so it’s pretty much equivalent to the riffs in terms of timbre. Don’t get me wrong, his vocals aren’t in any way monotone; there is a lot of power to his vocals and it’s hard to not get pumped with sinister energy whenever he screams, "SATTAAANNNNNNN". Lyrically, we aren’t working with any philological prodigence or realistic relations; this shits about Satan, the end of the world and fucking fire! And I can’t imagine anything that would fit the record more. And even though these are generally considered brutish themes, I believe this band does it within the original intended context being that the lyrics are supposed to be very image laden and scenic. Let me tell you, you can write an entire movie just off the lyrics Funeral give you:
“When darkness is upon us, and skies had turned to black
When blood rains from darkened skies and crying angels die
When the sun has burned its last rays and light no more remains
When tears of god stains the ground the dark age has arrived “
It’s pretty bleak, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who immediately imagined something from the movie Gabriel( a movie about Arch angels fighting fallen angels in Purgatory, which looks exactly like how those lyrics describe, always dark and raining) or various other apocalyptic films.

The one negative thing I can possibly say about this album is the cover of Von’s Satanic Blood, but that was just a poor decision on their part. I’m sure they do a great job of performing the song, but the problem is that song itself is absolutely horrid. It’s the exact same riff over and over again with the exact same lyrics, “Satanic. Blood”, chanted over and over again for pretty much the entire song, (there are some lyrics before that, but they aren’t exactly different from each other and whatever variation there was is done 25 seconds into the song). Remember when I was talking about tasteful satanic lyricism? Yeah, Von definitely fails at that. With that and the somewhat predictable drumming massing up the albums only faults, this is a pretty damn fine album and definitely one of the highlights of Swedish black metal when it comes to rivalling Norway’s scene. For those of you who feared extreme metal in your youth, this was probably one of them that would give you nightmares.