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Dark Funeral/ Enslaved

Date: 01/10/07
Venue: BB King Blues Club, New York
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Enslaved from Norway come from the crop of extreme/ Black Metal bands, say similar to Hypocrisy, in that they combine both faster with a more mid pace tempo songs and rough vocals. A listen to any of their earlier albums reveals all the classic trademarks of early black metal, the vocal stylings, the blast beats, that distinctive black metal guitar style riffs. With newer records like their recent release “Ruun” they offer more variety to the music as well as better clearer vocals making for catchier songs dare I say. But yes when the music is played a slower speed it comes across very well and makes for more memorable moments. The keyboards also add and benefit their music without taking away from the dark presentation. The crowd was very much into their set and I also liked what I had heard not personally being a fan.

Since 1994 Sweden’s Dark Funeral have been playing very straight ahead Black Metal without the keyboards (unlike what many are familiar with from Dimmu Borgir) which makes them purists when it comes to their black art. Originators they are not, but purists yes when it comes to the art form itself. This characteristic by many songs delivered at rapid speeds allowing for little variety when it comes to tempo changes and no melody. Blast beats are really the focus the majority of the time yet the occasional song does offer a mid tempo to prevent too much redundancy. Vocals are as harsh and are your standard wicked evil sounding Black Metal voice. Wearing the black metalists uniform of choice, that being leathers head to toe and corpse paint makeup, Dark Funeral wave the flag high for all that is dark and hellish in Heavy Metal music. Enforcing their Satanic beliefs…… on stage two large pentagram with inverted cross scrims along with a back drop featuring artwork from the new cd cover.

I really thought the band’s entrance to the stage was done well, minimal given the lack of space on stage, but utilized it to the best of their ability given what they had to work with. As the stage went black once the simply composed ominous intro tape began, stage lights randomly accented the stage and backdrops to nicely set up the mood. It was subtle, yet dark setting a tone of that one would get while walking down the dark smoke filled corridor to a haunted attraction for the Halloween season. The band did make a conscious effort to create a mood right from the start and this carried out even as each member entered the stage. Once the intro score ended they blazed into the opener “King Antichrist” followed by the title track from their last release “Diabolis Interium”. The set also included older songs like “The Secrets of the Black Arts” and “Open the Gates”.

Their performance was tight and musically very precise even given the rate of speed Black Metal is played at. Sometimes these extreme Black/Death bands just sound like noise when it comes to a live set but when a song ended it stopped on the dime. The mix was also well balanced and you could hear everybody in the band. A well rehearsed group of musicians.


Interview with guitarist Lord Ahriman

Backstage prior to the band’s performance I spoke to the guitarist and here is what he had to say:

1. This is your first real American tour is that correct?

AHRIMAN: Well we have played a couple of festivals and we did some dates with Cannibal Corpse in 2002 but yeah you can say this is our first major string of dates. We have played New York before but this is the first time we are playing BB Kings. The problem coming from Europe to tour its very expensive and there has to be a guarantee really by the label to support a proper tour in order to come here.

2. Was it your choice to tour with Enslaved?

AHRIMAN: No that was up to the label since this is a Candlelight tour.

3. When you tour in other regions, more so in Europe, you try to have a theatrical stage show. Were you able to do that in the States?

AHRIMAN: Well we can’t do all the things we do in Europe and its expensive to put money into a theatrical show on top of the cost just to tour itself, along with making sure we are using good equipment. So what you will get is just a really good Dark Funeral set of music.

4. You have recorded and released a live album already. Are there any plans to release a live DVD?

AHRIMAN: Yes there is. We have been recording shows for some time now and are just in the process of going through that material now and preparing it for release. I think it will be a two DVD release and we will include one European and one U.S. show. There will also be some early material of the band too.

5. Will you include promo videos?

AHRIMAN: Well there are some issues with past record labels but I don’t give a fuck we will include them as well. I had it with all that kind of shit.

6. As far as Black Metal music there is a lot of negativity that go with the genre, is there anything you can say about this music form that would maybe change people’s opinions about it?

AHRIMAN: Well people say it is dangerous and bad but people don’t read the emails we get from fans saying that our music saved them from committing suicide. I think when it comes to the radical behavior of the artists from this genre who burn down churches, commit suicide and murder….that happens with all forms of music and entertainment. People who don’t know enough about Satanism and Black Metal music should shut their mouths until they learn more about it.

7. Are the lyrics of Dark Funeral based in fiction or reality?

AHRIMAN: Well the lyrics I don’t actually write our singer Emperor Magus Caligula does. But I think it is a mixture of fantasy satanic topics as well as real life experiences. It is a good way of expelling inner demons.

8. When you compare the new record “Attera Totus Sanctus” with the older material how has it grown?

AHRIMAN: I think it’s the most professionally and well arranged record so far. I am really happy with the latest record and we worked very hard on it. The songs are still very much in the spirit of older Dark Funeral but better written with more variety to the music.

9. Have you ever considered using a keyboard in your music to create moods and atmospheres?

AHRIMAN: Not really because I really like the purity to just using guitars, drums and bass. I think you can still create different sounds within the music by just using guitars, that’s real Heavy Metal.

10. Anything you would like to add before I let you go get ready for the show?

AHRIMAN: Thanks to all our support from the fans, we are glad to be back. Be on the lookout for the DVD we are working to get this thing out before the end of 07.

Official website: www.darkfuneral.se

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