Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Monday, September 26, 2022

Review: Dark Funeral – We Are the Apocalypse

Label: Century Media Records

Date: March 18th, 2022

Since the beloved readers can easily hear my thoughts on this record in the interview I’ve conducted with Lord Ahriman a few days ago, this review should stand as some sort of a conclusion to the story. What’s left after this text is basically a summon to take a close listen to the new Dark Funeral record. So, once the lips stand still, the music is all that remains.

The music that will speak on its own behalf. And this time it speaks in tongues. Plural. The name Dark Funeral, being among the pioneers of the genre, and having a new record, is an obvious call for the worshippers’ ears. One initiated will immediately know what to expect. Second wave black metal, of course. Not much has changed in that regard.

However, the band, as mentioned in the interview, looked for and in term achieved a step forward. Another step forward, if you will. As much as it is natural to not want to repeat the same formula over and over again, it is also an intentional quest for the new worlds to conquer.

If it was ever even possible, Dark Funeral’s recognizable lead guitars sound even more ominous this time. What could be construed as a surprise is that they are occasionally hidden behind the wall of rhythm which makes them sound as a menace lurking from behind when you least expect them. However, they are not forgotten in the whirlwind of a thunderstorm that “We Are the Apocalypse” is. Lord Ahriman’s creative genius behind the six strings shines through and through. Particularly catching the listener unaware in “Leviathan” and its middle section. In keeping with the beastly figure’s origin in the Middle East, it offers an oriental, atmospheric piece previously unimaginable in Dark Funeral. And you know what? It is a perfect fit for the otherwise quite aggressive track. Again, a creative genius shines through. Perhaps the brightest in the entire opus of Dark Funeral.

Speaking about the atmosphere, it is apparent that it is held in higher regard this time. Not only in the mentioned song. You have, for instance, the ingenious “When I’m Gone”, a slow burning candle above the catafalque. Here, again, the guitars present so much of the intended melancholy to the listener. Coupled with the lyrical imagination, of course, to carve an epitaph upon the tombstone.

Okay, the mid-tempo bangers are an obvious choice for the presentation of the atmospheric direction of “We Are the Apocalypse”, but it is not neglected in the faster and more violent tracks. But still, when you hear the two mentioned tracks or the first single, “Let the Devil In”, it will be the clearest.

Focusing on the first published track, it did come as a small surprise, since none could anticipate that Dark Funeral will choose a mid-tempo track for the first single. While it could induce a few raised eyebrows and questions of where did Dark Funeral go this time, all of it disburses when you push play on your stereo. Already the first song, “Nightfall”, screams Dark Funeral. No mistake to be made. The record is as aggressive as you can imagine a Dark Funeral record being. A whole bunch of additives could not resolve the Swedes of being what they are, but those additives give taste to “We Are the Apocalypse”, making it a record to hold dear.

Among those additives you can count the most talked about pieces of the album. Namely, drums and vocals. In both cases it is the delivery of their individual parts that stand out from what Dark Funeral usually did. The drums being extremely playful and dynamic, even if their natural blast beating habitat is left undisturbed. Vocals are also the most carefully arranged to date, as far as Dark Funeral is concerned. Direct, quite catchy, impeccably heard and, above all, perfectly imprinted on the musical background.

As a whole, the Swedish quartet took their time in crafting “We Are the Apocalypse”, looked in every deep dark corner of their minds, left no stone unturned, carefully thought about every single detail and the result… Well, you get the point. Go get it!