They say seven is a lucky number. There’s also supposedly dark magic behind the number seven. Seven years of bad luck for a whole host of reasons, so say the superstitions. Maybe it’s the fact that it has been seven long years since their last full-length, studio album, but we should certainly count ourselves lucky for the triumphant return of Sweden’s Dark Funeral.
A lot has happened in the last seven years, both for the band and the metal world at large. Internally, Dark Funeral continued to cycle through members, lost a former member to an untimely and tragic passing, and found themselves on yet another label (this time landing with the mighty Century Media). Externally, the last seven years have seen the black metal scene grow and expand in ways that were, frankly, unimaginable when Dark Funeral first started laying down the sonic blasphemy in the mid 90s. But through it all, Dark Funeral has emerged, sounding stronger than ever and with a new album in hand that stands as a sort of beacon for anyone desperately looking for the shores of traditional, second wave black metal.
Dark Funeral’s newest album, Where Shadows Forever Reign, proves that you can indeed go home again as the band once again proves the time-tested theory that the cream shall always rise to the top. While they do an honorable job of hearkening back to the glory days of the indomitable second wave of black metal, Dark Funeral also clearly have one foot firmly planted in the future as well. The scathing call to arms of tracks like “Unchain My Soul” gives way to a succulent array of mid-paced and truly atmospheric blasphemy. Tracks like “As I Ascend” and “Temple of Ahriman” have the ability to both transport the listener to another frosty dimension, and bludgeon them bloody in the process. By the time they are handing duties back to the punishing “Nail Them To The Cross” and the title track there is a distinct feeling that this journey is going to be worth revisiting over and over again.
To say that Dark Funeral is a band that has aged well with time would be a bit of a misnomer. This is a band that on their debut album shot out of a cannon right to the heights of their field. But one would be remiss not to point out that after over 20 years as a functioning band their sixth studio album may in fact be their best one yet, or at least should be in the discussion among such classics as The Secrets of the Black Arts and Vobiscum Satanas.
Where Shadows Forever Reign is due out on June 3 via Century Media. You can currently check out the video for the track “Nail Them To The Cross” on the Dark Funeral website.