Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse
Released: March 18th, 2022
Lord Ahriman // Guitar
Chaq Mol // Guitar
Heljarmadr // Vocals
Adra-Melek // Bass
Jalomaah // Drums
Dark Funeral online:
One of the biggest black metal acts to come out of Sweden, Dark Funeral have been carrying the torch for their countrymen’s take on the legendary extreme metal sub-genre for close to three decades. Although the band were 25 years into their existence, 2016’s Where Shadows Forever Reign might have been their finest and most complete work to date; it introduced the excellent new vocalist Heljarmadr, and built upon all the momentum the Swede’s had started from their very first album, The Secrets of the Black Arts. Following it up was always going to be a tough feat, and having taken the best part of five and half years to conjure and create it, Dark Funeral have delivered record number seven, We Are The Apocalypse.
‘Nightfall’ is the perfect, straight to the throat opener. No superfluous dramatic intro, just lightning fast riffs and cymbal chokes, before the blastbeats kick in behind a monstrous bellow from Heljarmadr. The chorus, with minor-key arpeggiated guitar lines anchoring the melody, is as immediately memorable and catchy a pure extreme metal song could get. It’s this aspect of their sound that have made Dark Funeral one of the leaders of modern black metal; the band’s main composer, founding member Lord Ahriman, isn’t afraid to write hook focused tracks – their music is far from a repetitive whirlwind of screams, guitars and drums. But also far from poppy; the melodies lie in a somber and mournful world.
On the production front, We Are The Apocalypse has it’s positives and negatives. Daniel Bergstrand returns to the fold, however whether working in a new studio has anything to do with this (Fredrik Thordendal’s brand new Studio 33), the album’s mix sounds a little muddy, with guitar passages sitting a tad too deep – however brownie points are won back with it’s very natural sounding drum sound. If you know much about modern day extreme metal, you’re aware that drum triggers and sampling are basically the norm, so a very raw and real sounding kit is a pleasant anomaly. The player manning the drumset, new member Jalomaah, does a more than admiral job replacing his highly talented predecessor Dominator. Dark Funeral’s newest recruit also played on the most recent, and excellent, Aeon LP, which serves as a great precursor to his playing on this record.
While there are a lot of mood and dynamics on display, let us not forget that Dark Funeral have built a bulk of their career on being a wickedly fast band. ’When Our Vengeance Is Done’, ‘Nosferatu’ and ’A Beast To Praise’ are blitzkriegs of wrist shattering tremolo guitar riffs and furious drumming, pushing the bpms into the high 200s. ‘When I’m Gone’ and ‘Let The Devil In’ on the other side of the coin, are dark, moody and diverse songs, with the reeled in tempo and more restrained instrumental work making room for vocals. It must be said that Heljarmadr is a superlative vocalist, with few the in the genre matching his balance of power and enunciation. Penultimate song ‘Leviathan’ introduces clean guitars into the fray, and is a nice middle ground of styles, boosting both punishing pace and dynamic passages. That number, and the powerhouse closing title track, are a devastating combination to round out the release.
We Are The Apocalypse is a very strong album from Dark Funeral. It’s brutal and evil, yet dynamic and filled with drama and darkness. Making extreme metal of any ilk that can grab the listener on the first spin is a true talent. Fans of Dark Funeral’s previous work will lap it up for sure, but it’s also accessible enough to serve as an introduction to the frigid blackened waters for the uninitiated.
Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse tracklisting
2. Let the Devil In
3. When Our Vengeance Is Done
5. When I’m Gone
6. Beyond the Grave
7. A Beast to Praise
9. We Are the Apocalypse
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