Record Label: Century Media Records
Dark Funeral – the name is synonymous with epic. Baring similarities to other mainstream titans such as Dark Fortress and DimmuBorgir, Dark Funeral boasts a style that transcends the world of orthodox or conventional Black Metal. While my appreciation for baser BM runs deep, I’m also of the mind that some of this music is rightly deserving of a modern touch. When done right, quality products along with a cinematic edge and top-notch visuals can really make for a monumental experience. On March 18, this proud Swedish Black Metal institution unveiled its latest offering in “We Are the Apocalypse” via the mighty Century Media Records.
“We Are the Apocalypse” was put together with cinema being the driving inspirational force. Vocalist Andreas “Heljarmadr” Vingbäck described the title of the record as something akin to the title of a movie. The record’s titular cut details the apocalypse as portrayed by the book of Revelation in The Bible. This is a tried and trusty concept that always delivers a highly dramatic vibe that captures the essence of Black Metal as the soundtrack to the end of days. And of course “Nosferatu” draws influence from the notorious 1922 silent film that shares the same title. Other themes include Mesopotamian demonology in “Nightfall”, self-acceptance in “Let the Devil In” and murder in “A Beast to Praise”.
Musically, Dark Funeral with souls ablaze unleash their usual souped-up Swedish Black Metal attack throughout this album as relentless onslaughts of incinerating rhythms and racing melodic riffs scorch earth underneath everything bland and traditional. Tracks like the aforementioned “Let the Devil In” and “When I’m Gone” provide accessibility and appeal to mainstream ears while others like “When Our Vengeance Is Done” and “Leviathan” tread blacker territory as they honor blasphemy and great demons of old with celebrated lyrical themes set to classic tones.
From a production standpoint, “We Are the Apocalypse” scorns the rawness of the old days with a sound that unapologetically runs the line between clarity and utter sanitization. One could view this phase as the album’s only real weak point, but at the same time, I can’t imagine today’s Dark Funeral sounding any other way. Their previous album “Where Shadows Forever Reign” set a high bar for a follow-up, so expectations for this latest LP were high. “We Are the Apocalypse” is definitely a valiant effort, but ultimately not quite as impactful. All critiques considered, I’d still say that with Dark Funeral, it’s reliably a question of how good their new material is going to be as opposed to being left to wonder if it’s going to be good at all. “We Are the Apocalypse” definitely falls in line with this notion.