Dark Funeral - The Secrets Of The Black Arts
No Fashion Records
Black Metal
11 songs (40'53)
Release year: 1996
Dark Funeral, No Fashion Records
Reviewed by Valefor
Archive review
Like a 20-megaton hydrogen bomb, Dark Funeral's The Secrets of the Black Arts is a bit of Hell on earth. This, their first full-length album, would position them as serious contenders to the Black Metal throne. Formed in 1993, in Sweden, this would be the only full length album to feature Blackmoon, as well as Equimanthorn and Themgoroth. Founding members Ahriman and Blackmoon handle the guitar work, and are joined by Equimanthorn on drums and Themgoroth on bass and vox. After perhaps the shortest intro ever, the album kicks off with the title track, and the gates of Hell are not merely opened, they are blown off of their hinges, unleashing howling black-winged demons, in a storm of fire and torment, come to strip your bones bare of flesh. The atmosphere created on this album ranks among the most blood freezing I have heard, and they do not use synth's, relying instead on classical minor chord arrangements. The guitars are heavily, crushingly distorted and are like a wall of fire, consuming all in their reach. Equimanthorn blasts away like a maniac, out for blood. Ultra-fast and brutal, this is what black metal drummers are supposed to sound like, straight to the point without a lot of fucking around, replete with double-shots and fills. The bass is a presence, something that is not always found in Black Metal, I will leave any description thereof at that. The vox of Themgoroth are hellish screams of anguish and hate, with a lot of echo effect. There are also small doses of harmonizer usage thrown in, at times. The vox are handled by Blackmoon on one track, the cover of Satanic Blood, originally done by the '80's band Von. I actually like Blackmoon's voice better than Themgoroth's, it is more evil, and make no mistake, this is some of the most evil music out there. The sound on this album is a little muddy, due to the heavy distortion, but the melodies (yes, their are melodies) are quite clear and convincing. Originally recorded at Dan Swano's Unisound studio, the band was unhappy with the results of that session, so the story goes. Enter Peter Tagtgren, a man who needs no introduction to the world of extreme metal. With Tagtgren at the helm, the band decided to record the album at Studio Abyss , whereupon the band was satisfied with the final result. There is only one song out of the eleven on the album that I did not care for, namely, The Fire Eternal... It's not neccessarily a poor track, but the album would not lose anything with its absence. A lot of people that I have talked to think that the album lacks variety, and I would argue that that is the point; this is music that is meant to initiate a state of mindlessness, akin to the trance-like state which occurs when staring into a burning fireplace. Bottom line Devastatingly, coldly brutal, this is what Black Metal should sound like. Dark Funeral are like a 19th century hearse, equipped with a supercharged 396cc big-block engine, chopped, front end pointing towards the earth, with 30 inch slicks in the back, fire eminating from its exhaust pipes. If you don't care for evil music, this is probably not for you. But, if you like your metal evil, cold and merciless, I recommend this album, as it is among the best in the Dark Funeral repertoire.
Killing Songs :
The Secrets of the Black Arts, My Dark Desires, The Dawn No More Rises, Satan's Mayhem, Shadows Over Transylvania, Dark Are The Path's To Eternity (a nocturnal summoning)
Valefor quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Dark Funeral that we have reviewed:
Dark Funeral - Angelus Exuro pro Eternus reviewed by Alex and quoted 81 / 100
Dark Funeral - Attera Totus Sanctus reviewed by Alex and quoted 71 / 100
Dark Funeral - Diabolis Interium reviewed by Danny and quoted 88 / 100
Dark Funeral - Teach Children To Worship Satan reviewed by Danny and quoted 85 / 100
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