Album Review: Dark Funeral – Where Shadows Reign Forever

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Band: Dark Funeral
Album: Where Shadows Reign Forever
Release: June 3, 2016
Label: Century Media Records

Dark Funeral has been going strong in the metal community for over 20 years now. Throughout those years they have grown musically and lyrically, but still remain one of the biggest Black Metal acts out there. Upon the release of their Sixth full length album, Where Shadows Forever Reign, seven years since their last release, Angelus Exuro pro Eternus, have Dark Funeral maintained their prominence in the Black Metal family or was it too little, too late?

I’ve been listening to Black Metal about half as long as I have been into every other metal genre/sub-genre out there, so when I think of the hierarchy of Black Metal bands like Immortal, Gorgoroth, Emperor, Marduk and various other Black Metal bands. It wasn’t until later on in my Black Metal history that I learned about such bands as Dark funeral, 1349, and Taake to name a few. However, when I listen to what all the bands are doing, I can’t help but grow a stronger connection to them. Not because I am a Satanist or anything like that, I was raised Catholic, if anything I am far from that. I, like many metal heads, have matured throughout the years of my ever dwindling life and I feel like my musical taste has veered away from bands like Korn, Slipknot, and Limp Bizkit and toward either extremely talented bands like Between the Buried and Me, Devin Townsend Project, Gojira, Fleshgod Apocalypse, etc. or to more extreme metal bands like Ne Obliviscaris, Emperor, Rotting Christ, Watain.

My first trve Black Metal show was Enslaved and 1349 at SXSW back in 2008, now almost 10 years later not only do I love listening to them, but they have become two bands that I hope one day gets booked in St. Louis, as it has gotten harder and harder to travel for shows right now. That being said some of my favorite shows since then have been Black Metal shows and it was 2 years ago now that Dark Funeral graced us with their presence at The Firebird with Grave. Dark Funeral is one of the bands that I had gotten into probably around the release of Angelus Exuro pro Eternus and have been dying for new music ever since. It only took seven years, but the shadow has come to reign again!

Where Shadows Reign Forever, picks up right were they left off, as though they had recorded it almost directly after Angelus. From ‘Unchain My Soul,’ which was released today (5/13) via iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon, to the closing title track, Dark funeral takes the listener on a journey venturing deep into their catalogue. While some of the tracks have a somewhat polished sound to them (not a bad thing, its 2016 if there wasn’t a modern day sound I would be concerned) Dark Funeral has some of that raw feel that was introduced to us back in 1994 with their Self-Titled EP and has always carried on throughout. That is one thing I tend to love with Black Metal bands, no matter what they always stay true to their element.

One of my favorite tracks on the album ‘As I Ascend’ kicks off with a ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’/’Hells Bells’ ringing of the bell. Shortly after the song kicks in you can feel the emergence of evil rising from the depths of hell, or if the stage allowed it have vocalist, Heljarmadr (Andreas Vingbäck), rising from below the stage as the set kicked off with this song as the opener. The bells are just so eerie and the guitar intro following doesn’t sooth you either, this is truly a great song. To follow that up with the even creepier ‘Temple of Ahriman’ which picks the pace back up part way through the song for the last half of the album, they truly know what they are doing. Oh and by the way ‘To Carve Another Wound’ fucking rips, instant neck breaker!

I have no real complaints on this album at all other than it took so long to come out. But even that is just more of a pity complaint than a real one. This one stands ground with the rest of the Dark Funeral discography and is a must listen for all metal heads young and old. Might give the young ones nightmares, but thats fine, they’ll grow out of it. And if they don’t well they will just become musicians and bring that fear to the next generation! I hope to get a tour with this album through St. Louis, though it seems unlikely the way most of the Black Metal shows miss us. However, that shouldn’t stop us from rising up and buying the hell out of this album and make the darkness reign again!

Rating: 5/5

RIYL: 1349, Watain, Emperor, Gorgoroth

Where Shadows Forever Reign track list:

1
Unchain My Soul
5:21
2
As One We Shall Conquer
4:44
3
Beast Above Man
4:44
4
As I Ascend
6:19
5
Temple of Ahriman
5:21
6
The Eternal Eclipse
4:14
7
To Carve Another Wound
4:45
8
Nail Them to the Cross
4:43
9
Where Shadows Forever Reign
5:33

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