Dark Funeral – Where Shadows Forever Reign

There are very few bands in the black metal field nowadays that self-proclaim to stick to the tried-and-tested formula of being “troo”. “Troo”, the essence of that particular phrase adhering to a couple of decades ago where the likes of Darkthrone, Mayhem, Satyricon and Burzum among others reigned supreme in a sub-genre that couldn’t really do anything wrong by its minute albeit very loyal fanbase. And just how did they reign supreme? Clearly, it was all about the attitude. The attitude of not condescending to those who wanted change with every successive album, until the moment where respective bands were accused of selling out for the sake of it. Dark Funeral, despite having some problems in the past threatening the break-up of their relatively long-winded career, are not one band to do this: They have stridden through the thick and thin of every era, and it’s probably why latest album “Where Shadows Forever Reign”, gives the impression of a band still youthfully enthusiastic and ultimately concise in their work.

What you won’t hear with Dark Funeral’s latest effort is a change from past works: It still has the same intentions and beastly force as the band’s debut effort, “The Secret of Black Arts”. Nobody can blame them either, because they’re simply doing what they want to do. Opener ‘Unchain My Soul’ is a seething, memorable black metal opus which constantly keeps the listener enticed thanks to an almost militaristic rhythm section, where it feels like you’re being marched to the darkest voids of hell. With this song alone, it seems that Dark Funeral are close to reclaiming their spot at the top of the black metal field, that is if said field is solely based on the traditions of the sub-genre and nothing else. The rest of the album continues in a similarly active and malevolent way, despite not adding anything of interest for those who want more of an experimental vibe. The likes of ‘Beast Above Man’, ‘The Eternal Eclipse’ and ‘Nail Them to the Cross’ are all equally as furious and bloodthirsty as the album opener, producing blast-beats as concentrated and powerful as any of Dark Funeral’s past efforts.

There are times however, when it sounds like Dark Funeral are getting tired. First and foremost, the songs which turn out to be forgettable are the ones where there is simply too much build up and not enough focus on keeping things fresh. ‘Temple of Ahriman’, for example, has filler material all over it. The lyrics are very corny, too much so even for a standard black metal anthem, and the musicianship sounds stodgy from the get-go. Even vocalist Heljarmadr sounds bored with himself halfway through the song, as if the rest of the band are simply waiting for the song to finish. Then there’s the album’s almost-opus, the seven-minute ‘As I Ascend’. Whilst it is more creative than the aforementioned song, it wastes a little too much time in trying to get somewhere and ending up nowhere at all. The fluent instrumentation is interesting for the first few minutes but after that, it merely gives the impression of a band trying to thing of where to go next, without having actually planned it beforehand. Thankfully, the album picks up a stronger momentum towards the end, completed by an excellent closing title track which could easily leave a scar on every listener if they let it.

As said before, “Where Shadows Forever Reign” details no change in Dark Funeral’s momentous musical career. The sound is mostly crisp and fresh and brings the best of black metal’s traditional formula to the masses as seamlessly as is possible, and despite the band not sounding as youthfully exuberant here as twenty years ago, they have done the job just right. On this evidence, Dark Funeral should go on for another twenty years without hopefully experiencing further difficulties down the line.


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



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