Dark Funeral - Where Shadows Forever Reign (Century Media Records)

A diverse and captivating album...looking forward into the new dimensions of what Dark Funeral has to offer.
Release Date: 
3 Jun 2016 (All day)

Where Shadows Forever Reign is a diverse and captivating album, and is the sixth studio album by renowned black metal band Dark Funeral. To underscore Dark Funeral’s longstanding presence in black metal, Where Shadows Forever Reign begins with the classic-black-metal Unchain My Soul and ends with the timelessly grim title track Where Shadows Forever Reign. Yet across the 44.24 minutes of the release, this album carries its listener on a dark journey through a total of nine very unique songs.

This album shifts dynamics and tempo in a profound sequence of tracks. As One We Shall Conquer unleashes with frenetic energy and an unrelenting call to arms followed by Beast Above Man. Then, As I Ascend immerses into a seething, slower atmosphere. It recalls a cry from the abyss that returns to the deep nihilism embedded within black metal. Temple of Ahriman is structurally paired right back with highly effective simplicity and is a curiously addictive song. This ‘dark march’ is characterised by an edgy intro and ghoulish vocals, with chanting lyrics that create an interesting duality with the underlying rhythmic pulse of the guitars. It goes to show that nobody does the ‘grim procession’ quite like that seasoned warrior of black metal, Lord Ahriman 

A soul tearing primal scream heralds beginning of The Eternal Eclipse and with it the return of blistering speed and energy to the album. As if rising from the forlorn lament of the preceding two tracks, The Eternal Eclipse is viciously empowered and crescendos into To Carve Another Wound which is undoubtedly a standout song on this album. To Carve Another Wound is immersive, musically varied and complex. Between haunting refrains and eerie melodies that descend into pulverising fast sections with thick mosh-style grooves. This song is designed to elicit devastating moshpits and I can’t wait to see this number performed live.

The pre-circulated track Nail Them To The Cross is solid Black Metal and delivers the album to the satanic twilight at its end, being the title track Where Shadows Forever Reign.

Since so much has changed within the lineup of Dark Funeral since their last release, Angelus Exuro pro Eternus in 2013, it seems redundant to make too many comparisons with this intriguing new release. However, the introduction of new vocalist Heljarmadr must be mentioned as his vocal diversity brings a lot of texture and character to Where Shadows Forever Reign from an old-school terrifying screech on songs such as The Eternal Eclipse, to a profound deeper guttural sound on As I Ascend and demonic resonance in Temple of Ahriman. 

There is nothing amateur about the production of Where Shadows Forever Reign. Visually this album recalls the band’s debut album, The Secrets of the Black Arts, released two decades ago in 1996. Sonically, this new release harks back to some of the dark melodic elements of the 1996 album but is beyond a doubt looking forward into the new dimensions of what Dark Funeral has to offer.