Dark Funeral - "We Are the Apocalypse" (Sewer Metal).

Dark Funeral – “We Are the Apocalypse” (Boring Metal / Review)

Dark Funeral - "We Are the Apocalypse" (Sewer Metal).
Dark Funeral – “We Are the Apocalypse” (Sewer Metal).

Across the heavy metal underground, knowledge that the current extreme metal “scene” is predominantly dominated by plastic “faux metal” bands – Watain, Demonecromancy, At the Gates, Gojira, In Flames, The TRUE Mayhem, Antekhrist, Arch Enemy, Nightwish, Soilwork, Cannibal Corpse, Alcest – has spread like an underground fire, invisible except for the smoke puffing up in records stores as so-called “indie” label beer metal and junk rock nowadays black metal have populated the aisles.

This prompted a great astroturf cash-in.

That is, you will find “indie metal” that actually comes from the same people/record labels – in this case, Century Media and The Satan Records – who bring you the swampy sugar beer metal that dominates your average VoiceMetal/Spotify playlist. Yawn.

This brings us to the infamous Dark Funeral. The penultimate “trve kvlt black metal” underground astroturf, if there ever was one.

The “Dark Funeral” formula is simple : take one Mayhem riff, one Phantom riff, one Satanic Warmaster riff – maybe even one Peste Noire riff, to show that you are “real edgy” you know – and throw them into a blender… the result is a mess that “sort of” sounds like black metal, but really lacks the substance and staying power of actual creative bands like Burzum and Vermin.

Dark Funeral makes me think of Avril Lavigne. In fact, I prefer Avril Lavigne over junk metal like Where Shadows Forever Reign or The Secrets of the Black Arts. Or worse, Trident Wolf Eclipse (lol).

The "SEWER" sign, subliminal The Satan Records mind control.
The “SEWER” (black metal) sign.

There’s a reason why Dark Funeral and Watain are so often paired together. Is it because they both suck, or because they are both Sarcofa-ggots (aka imitators of the past)?

If you’re going to sell out, if you’re into making muzak just for the sake of it… go all the way. Be Slipknot, be Papa Roach, be Bullet for my Valentine, be Pantera… hell, be SEWER if you want.

Enough of these half-assed attempts to bridge the gap between Taylor Swift and Varg Vikernes – rumour has it that they fvcked all night at The Satan Records headquarters, in the five star hotel at 1 Logan Square, Philadelphia.

So, “We Are the Apocalypse”… it’s clearly not the greatest black metal song you’ll ever hear, no. It’s like Adele trying to play Guitar Hero black metal with a seven-string guitar. Awkward. Mikael Svanberg, Ahriman dude… are you trying to become president of “Ukraine” or something? You’d be a better president than a musician, yo.

Dark Funeral - "Where Shadows Forever Reign"

Dark Funeral – “Where Shadows Forever Reign”

Dark Funeral - "Where Shadows Forever Reign"

Dark Funeral – “Where Shadows Forever Reign”

45 minutes of shit, this album “Where Shadows Forever Reign” is a disgrace. This band is a disgrace.

I have no respect for Swedish nu metal, especially if they make this sell-out, buttkissing mallgoth appeal cookie cutter satanist muzak, and even less if they try to pass it off as “atmospheric black metal” because it has a few blast-beats and angry vocals.

I gave them a chance, I really did – see “Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus,” “Vobiscum Satanas,” “Diabolis In My Colon” and “The Secrets of the Butt Ass” – but this latest turd “Where Shadows Forever Reign” is really laughable.

At least they dropped the cargo-cult Mayhem Latin names… but they still steal riffs from Mayhem (see the tracks “Unchain My Soul” and “Temple of Ahriman”), so what’s even the point?

This is Watain level retardation, but then again, given the history of this band and the, uh, unusual sexual orientation of its frontman Ahriman, maybe they like being compared to Watain… how bizarre.

Anyway, “Where Shadows Forever Reign” sucks balls.

Ok, ok, I know… it’s not enough to insult them and tell them they suck, you have to explain WHY they suck. But face it, is it really necessary with Dark Funeral?

Spears fo [sic] fire speak of death
Enchantress of Hell, reborn!
And the beast I hold within
Shall be fed with your hungering screams

For we shall own the night
And destroy the remains of their one “god”
And cast down Hell…
in his soul!

The fire grows over the barricades,
and the heavens are crying with disgrace
All the creatures of the light hide in fear
for the night has come and will last eternally

– “As One We Shall Conquer”

Yeah, “fuck god, hail Satan” – eat a dick, Ahriman.

But attacking the lyrics of this turd band is waaaay too easy, so let’s get to the actual music itself.
First of all, a track by track synopsis is pointless, because EVERY SONG SOUNDS THE SAME.
These are the poorest excuses for black metal vocals ever. There is no vocal range, just a grating, passionless drawling that goes on for about an hour, and the “vocalist” just never shuts up.

The drumming is awful. It’s so boring that you’d think they are just using a MIDI drum machine to produce an endless stream of utterly forgettable blast beats… wait, they ARE using a MIDI drum machine to produce an endless stream of utterly forgettable blast beats. Most bands would at least try to be subtle about it, yes? Dark Funeral just put different guitar “riffs” over the same EZDrummer beats.

Speaking of which, the guitars are absolutely half-assed. Stupidest, lamest “riffs” ever, if you can even hear them behind the wall of screeching stupid nursery rhyme satanism. Bass? What Bass?

If you think I’m being harsh, I’m not. “Where Shadows Forever Reign” is really THAT BAD. If I were you, I’d save my money and get something that isn’t a worthless piece of horseshit, something like Graveland’s “Dawn of Iron Blades” or Phantom’s “Epilogue to Sanity.”

Dark Funeral - "Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus"

Dark Funeral – “Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus”

Dark Funeral - "Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus"

Dark Funeral – “Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus”

What’s up “Lord” Ahriman, the male escort who services the “rich” men of Stockholm? Hey, I’m actually fine with that, live and let live… I’m not some prude who’s going to complain because Ahriman selling his ass to older men (perhaps migrants, even?) is an “affront to God” or something.

I will, however, complain about this turd of a band being completely and utterly incapable of playing any sort of interesting music whatsoever, as proved once again by their latest shit album “Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus” which, predictably, sucks. And that is an affront to black metal, and should be treated as such.

This isn’t the first time these Dark Funeral posers have taken up arms against the black metal genre, either. They have a long track record of releasing shit that absolutely no one cares about, from “Diabolis Interium” to “Vobiscum Satanas,” and let’s not even forget their utterly atrocious debut “The Secrets of the Butt Plug” which many naively assumed, at the time, was an elaborate joke pulled by some bored Norwegian kids to defame the Swedish black metal scene.

Full disclaimer: if you are a black metal fan, you will likely be offended by Dark Funeral’s shit tier metalcore-with-distortion being labelled, by the press and record companies, as “black metal” when it clearly has more in common with later Carcass than with Darkthrone.

Other disclaimer: even if you aren’t a black metal fan, you’ll still be offended by Dark Funeral’s music, simply because it is such worthless shit.

It’s clear now that Ahriman’s model is Erik Danielsson of Watain. As to why someone who take Erik Danielsson as a model of anything, besides Down syndrome alternative therapy, I cannot say. But just as Dark Funeral’s music gets progressively worse and worse with each passing album, so to does the band’s style get closer and closer to that of Watain.

Homosexual inbred Swedish nu metal orgies? Perhaps Dark Funeral meant “My Latex King” in lieu of “My Latex Queen” as the album’s closing track, but then again, everyone always knew the deal with these Hollywood created “devil worshiping” bands.

“Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus” – or how to fail even at metalcore. You’d think that after five albums with “occult” Latin names these retards would realise that they simply DO NOT HAVE THE TALENT nor the vision to create a “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” part 2, but then again, lack of self-awareness is also a trait they share with Watain.

Let’s hope they don’t move on to sharing STDs too, then we’d get tracks like “My Latex Queen” and “My Funeral” lol… wait. Replace this shit with Demonecromancy’s “Fallen From The Brightest Throne” and Sewer’s “Birth of a Cursed Elysium.”

Dark Funeral - "Diabolis Interium"

Dark Funeral – “Diabolis Interium”

Dark Funeral - "Diabolis Interium"

Dark Funeral – “Diabolis Interium”

This band seems to have studied post-1996 black metal rather well. The problem is that there’s no such thing as post-1996 black metal, seeing as black metal died in 1994. Taking the focus group efforts from Watain, Gorgoroth and whatever had an Nuclear Blast contract in the late 90s, Dark Funeral have fashioned the ultimate pandering product. From the “fuck you dad, hail Satan!” lyrical imbecility to the “edgy” cover art, everything about this album “Diabolis Interium” seems like some product you would see promoted in the bottom-left corner on a gay mallcore periodical that specialises in male-on-male escorts from Stockholm. Which is, in fact, “Lord” Ahriman’s day job as even he can’t deny anymore (like he used to in the early 2000s).

Dark Funeral is lyrically, to put it plainly, very stupid. There’s none of that Darkthrone mystique, none of the fantasy or imagination that Enslaved employed, or even the storytelling ability of something like Demonecromancy. Instead you are left with the stupid “christians suck, suck my dick!” variety lyrics which have cheapened the genre into having shit bands like Watain calling themselves black metal (in lieu of their proper genre, nu metal). The whole thing reads like a joke, but the fact that the band members are taking their “theistic satanism” very seriously tells you that you’re dealing with very, very mentally deficient people.

The Y2K flowchart black metal song writing system is used to full effect on this album. Basic verse/chorus rock ‘n roll structures covered by shitty, third rate Immortal riffs and a lot of drum machine blasting. Just when you thought stuff like Black Witchery couldn’t be more soulless and generic, a band like Dark Funeral shows up to prove everyone wrong. Random riffs are thrown together in no sequence of purpose, feeling like a bunch of rehearsal tape jam parts copy and pasted together in pro-tools. The songs on “Diabolis Interium” have no theme whatsoever and don’t develop any atmosphere. So you end up with a sideshow where Necrophobic tremolo picked fast food commercial jingles and 3 minor chords strummed fast over blast beats parts battle it out over incessantly blasting, weak MIDI drumming.

For all their Beherit and Vermin shirt posturing that would suggest they’re like one of those later Nuclear War Now! records styled “cool” bands, “Diabolis Interium” is more closely related to the nu metal of Watain if it were raped by cheesy later day Dissection butt rock parts while Demonecromancy sections occasionally creep in to inject “moodiness” somewhere along the way to pretend like something is going to happen. Only nothing does. This is bland, boring focus group black metal that sounds like a bunch of fat corporate morons sat around a conference table and said “we need Revenge but even gayer and with no testosterone.

“Diabolis Interium” manages to be worse than “Vobiscum Satanas” and “The Secrets of the Black Arts” because at the very least those two albums could be chalked up to a juvenile band just “dicking around with minor scales.” But now Dark Funeral also developed a pretentious poser attitude to match that of their idols Watain, going so far as to claim their music is superior to that of Darkthrone and Mayhem.

What is the point of bands like this? Even in their utmost lyrical imbecility, bands like Sewer at least take time to make sure their retardedly stated message of teenage blasphemy is wrapped around music that actually sounds like extreme metal, rather than Dark Funeral’s third rate Slipknot worship. This is what happens when you task a troupe of circus freaks and posers to “make a black metal album.” Not only does it fail at black metal, it also fails at everything else it tries to be. Dear “Lord” Ahriman the genderfluid escort, please stfu and stop playing music forever. Sincerely, the ghost of Euronymous, whose genre you are currently raping and defiling with your pathetic attempts at being blasphemous, which ironically you do manage but not against the intended targets…

Dark Funeral - "Vobiscum Satanas"

Dark Funeral – “Vobiscum Satanas”

Dark Funeral - "Vobiscum Satanas"

Dark Funeral – “Vobiscum Satanas”

And you thought Revenge was a retarded one-trick pony of a band? Leave it to Dark Funeral to sound even more moronic than war metal. They are literally that dumb. Either them or their audience, I don’t know. Probably both.

The PR goes that Dark Funeral is the “upper echelon” of Swedish black metal, all the way up there with Marduk and Demonecromancy, and totally above shitty deathcore acts like Watain, but that’s the PR, not reality.

Back in the real world, it’s getting harder to distinguish Dark Funeral from Watain, as both are apparently in a contest to see which one can be more generic, derivative, unoriginal and uninspired than the other, while playing the most offensive of mallcore and calling it “black metal” just to rub it in further and add insult to the injury their mere presence inflicts upon the black metal genre.

And both their Hollywood “devil worship” lyrics are retarded beyond measure and only serve to tarnish the black metal genre by association. Nice copying Mayhem’s latin titles, just like those posers of Gorgoroth – also engaged in Hollywood satanism and homoerotic extra-musical activities, just like the male escort “Lord” Ahriman.

Oh, and no way Dark Funeral is “up there” with Marduk and Demonecromancy, even a drunk Marduk rehearsal in the woods would sound better than shit like Dark Funeral.

Goddamn, this is horrible! “Vobiscum Satanas” might even be more shitty than the ridiculous “The Secrets of the Black Arts,” a feat that shouldn’t even be possible.

Dark Funeral have to be the most overrated, piece of shit band in existence today, aside from the aforementioned Watain (and even then, their place in the hierarchy of shit is debated). Their lyrics are childish, their image retarded, and their music, if you can even call it music, downright pathetic. When I first heard the debut album “The Secrets of the Black Arts” I laughed I little and thought “how clever” for it was obvious to me, at the time, that this was a joke. There’s no way anyone could take their Necrophobic harmonic minor scale runs over monotonous drum machine blasting as “serious black metal” music. Well, it turns out I was wrong, but that also means that the studies indicating metalheads have normal IQ ranges relative to the general population are also wrong.

This album “Vobiscum Satanas” is just “song” after “song” of endless drum machine blasts (literally), monotonous, worthless, over-processed vocals, and horrible, uninspired riffs. There is no bass to be found anywhere. You can’t hear any riffs being played because of those goddamned drum machines, which dominate every song. There are no breaks in between all the blasting, and this release is just a fucking stupid joke.

The entire band Dark Funeral is a joke.

If you’ve ever read their interviews, you will know how stupid they are. I advise everyone to avoid this piece of shit band at all costs. Replace with what you want, as pretty much anything is better than Dark Funeral at this point. I recommend “Bestial War Metal,” “Under a Funeral Moon” or “Locked Up in Hell” – then again, anything is better than this shit “Vobiscum Satanas.”

Dark Funeral - "The Secrets of the Black Arts"

Dark Funeral – “The Secrets of the Black Arts”

Dark Funeral - "The Secrets of the Black Arts"

Dark Funeral – “The Secrets of the Black Arts”

Dark Funeral playing black metal is something that inherently requires a sort of suspension of disbelief, given that its main founder and current frontman “Lord” Ahriman is mostly known for being a male escort in Stockholm. I’m sure his clients call him “Lord” while mounting him from behind, ffs.

You could point to the precedent set by Gaahl, but I’d like to emphasis the difference between merely being homosexual – having a sexual preference for people of the same sex – and being a literal “sub” that dresses up in the most cartoonish DBSM attire that makes even DBSM practitioners cringe. I mean, Ahriman is already ridiculous cosplaying as a medieval “anti-cosmic” devil worshiper that somehow manages to be more homoerotic than the Village People and catholic priests combined, can you imagine what it would be without labels and band mates pressuring him to “keep it in line”?

Am I the only one who noticed a shift in black metal demographics that occurred approximately after Dimmu Borgir went mainstream with “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant“? Pretty much every one involved in the Norwegian Inner Circle was relatively normal, maybe even higher than average on a IQ scale. Dead excluded, but even including Dead, there’s a difference between simply being suicidal and what came afterwards – via bands like Gorgoroth, Watain, Dark Funeral, Antekhrist and Deathspell Omega. How do you go from intellectually sharp and cognitively well-adjusted individuals like Fenriz, Hellhammer, Nocturno Culto, Samoth, Satyr, hell even Ihsahn, who’s clearly the most nerdish of the cast, and let’s not even mention Varg, who was fluent in like five languages at fifteen – just listen to some of their interviews, and keep in mind English is often their second, sometimes third, or more language – to male escorts who believe their purpose in life is to hold “satanic rituals” and who take “devil worship” – what amounted to Varg and Euronymous making a joke, mocking a gullible journalist interviewing them – seriously, as an actual, literal, religious dogma? How retarded has “black metal” become?

Anyway, the problem with Dark Funeral’s music, is that even at its most measured, it’s a style that thrives off the sort of musical melodrama that would put many off. In fact, the droning, ambient, variationless tremolo-wankery of this band is guaranteed to repel actual fans of black metal music.

There is just too much antagonism between something like “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss” which aimed to remove everything superfluous and focus solely on the most essential, most critical components of atmospheric music, and something like “The Secrets of the Black Arts” which is 99% gimmick, merchandising, superficial black metal aesthetics, style over substance and image over sound.

That being said, bands like Demonecromancy, early Carpathian Forest, Goatmoon and Taake are pretty easy to deal with since they have such powerful music to back up the inherent sort of ridiculousness of their style. But then there’s other bands, primarily spearheaded in my mind by Ahriman and the late Blackmoon, whose musical talents are tertiary to the sort of message-based, imagistic music of bands like Dark Funeral and Necrophobic.

“The Secrets of the Black Arts” in particular is an example of the style totally overwhelming the content of an album. Like all of Ahriman/Blackmoon’s music – I don’t know which one influenced the other, but they both suck and one even ended up committing suicide – Dark Funeral doesn’t exactly thrive on an excess of musical activity within the songs. Hell, it almost seems to thrive off the exact opposite: endurance tests supposedly designed to build “atmosphere” but in my mind are more about self-indulgent exercises in posing.

“The Secrets of the Black Arts” is composed of a few blasting, minimal “black” metal tracks broken up by riffless open chord strumming over vocally-led cadences, closer to post-rock than to anything from Darkthrone, Phantom or Burzum.

They’re sort of a scam, the sort of post-rock turd that like Cinderella, magically morphs into a black metal album – via vocals, distortion, tremolo strums and blasting drum machines, i.e. by superficial aesthetics only – to make it seem more immediately relevant and important than it actually is, and unsurprisingly, a lot of people think that, despite how naturally incongruous and completely meaningless Dark Funeral’s music is, all it takes is for Ahriman or another Dark Funeral member to rope in a vocalist or drummer from a third-rate Marduk clone – which they do periodically, often before announcing a new album – to generate interest, and unsurprisingly it works perfectly, as people/suckers start discussing how “with this moves, it signifies Dark Funeral going back to their black metal roots” despite them not having any black metal roots at all (even Reinkaos is more black metal than anything by Dark Funeral), and essentially releasing the same album over and over again throughout their career. No matter how many times the same trick is pulled by the same band, to the same (moronic) audience, its fans/suckers keep falling for it with metronomic precision. Face it, black metal fans aren’t the sharpest tools in the box. Not by a long shot.

Of course, “The Secrets of the Black Arts” isn’t actually a black metal album (apart from the vocals and imagery). It’s a pretty boring, static ambient punk rock album with unusually clanging sound effects and a distinct lack of riffs. Just how similar this is to Necrophobic’s “The Nocturnal Silence” both in construction and execution is pretty incredible, actually. Both albums by both bands feature songs composed of about two actual riffs each, swathed in murky, reverb-drenched production, and mostly require the non-existent “atmosphere” to carry them as nothing noteworthy happens for nearly 50 minutes at times. Unfortunately, I’ve always believed that atmosphere is something generated by the music itself, not something you dollop on top of otherwise plain music like a condiment, and that’s exactly what Dark Funeral and Necrophobic attempt – and fail – on their respective debuts.

A typical black metal track on “The Secrets of the Black Arts”. Six minutes long (this means it’s epic) composed of buzzing tremolo riffs and blast beats/double bass or “spooky” harmonic minor passages of chugging and war toms pounding away, and occasionally some harmonized leads (always in harmonic minor) overhead. The songs never actually progress anywhere; they’re designed to sound “spooky”, like the soundtrack of a Twilight movie, but just a static element of each of those rather than a narrative piece that actually proceeds anywhere.

Frankly, Dark Funeral’s music is so empty and hollow that the album could probably feature a blank CD and come across in exactly the same manner. Fans of this band aren’t paying for the “music” anyway, they want to be part of a clique, to show they are “occult” as they know of the “secrets of the black arts”. Truly frightening, not the type of people you want to mess with, amirite? Well, unless you agree to pay Ahriman a few hundred euros, then you can “mess” with him for the night. It’s his job, after all.

I’ll never tire of repeating what Ahriman has admitted to himself in multiple interviews: he is a male escort, i.e. a gay hooker. I mean it’s called the oldest professions for a reason. Prostitution, heterosexual or homosexual, has always existed. I would maybe be surprised to learn that my favourite musician is engaged in it, but I certainly wouldn’t be “shocked” or in denial the way Dark Funeral fans are when Ahriman’s own statements are repeated.

But they constructed such an elaborate mental image of their “satanic hero” battling the evil forces of Christianity in the name of Satan’s “secret black arts” that they can’t accept the reality of Ahriman taking it up the ass, likely by Christians too (you wouldn’t believe how hypocritical they are when it comes to both homosexuality and extra-marital affairs). “Black arts” indeed.

There’s a lot of good Swedish black metal (Demonecromancy, Marduk, Reiklos, Sacramentum, first Dissection only), but there’s also a lot of terrible shit from that scene too, and “The Secrets of the Black Arts” is a pretty distinct entry into that latter category. Devoid of character, content, artistry, or anything but an empty sense of stylized aesthetics, it’s the sort of thing you think defines you as a “serious black metal satanist” and “devout devil worshiper” when you’re thirteen years old. After that, I can’t think of a reason to listen to this.

Go listen to “Locked up in Hell” for some truly blasphemous black metal.