Dark Funeral - Attera Totus Sanctus
Regain Records
Black Metal
8 songs (42'56")
Release year: 2005
Dark Funeral, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

As a person who often makes his living developing intellectual property for others, I take this issue very seriously. I can’t state how many times my days have been spoiled by a fight with another bastard client refusing to pay, claiming ours as theirs, etc. So, regardless of how I feel about Dark Funeral music, I strongly defend their position in the recent fight with their old label No Fashion Records. It is despicable that someone can take away what you have created and deprive you of the chance to be able to distribute your own earlier works of art. Also, as a person who has stayed in the same business for many years now, I know how difficult it is to reinvent itself, to approach same problems with varying solutions. And this is how I feel about Dark Funeral latest album Attera Totus Sanctus – even though you can’t teach the old dog new tricks, I do feel sympathy for the old dog as he has been going through tough times lately.

For over a decade now, along with Marduk, Dark Funeral has been a champion of hyperspeed blast driven black metal. For many this direction has grown stale, and with the flourishing underground scene both in Europe and the US, Dark Funeral may be old news. The band’s claims of being non-compromising, most notorious and highly regarded in the genre are often countered by anti-fans calling them repetitive and boring, earning them, along with Marduk again, the not-so-popular Norsecore tag. Four years removed form the previous album Diabolis Interium, Attera Totus Sanctus came out on Regain Records and, hopefully, will reenergize and add life to the band. In that light, why don’t we try and examine the album for what it is, at least in the mind of this reviewer, leaving either side’s claims aside?

True fans of Dark Funeral, as many or as few of them exist, do not need to worry. Attera Totus Sanctus bears an unmistakable signature. Manic hyperblasting, superfast tremoloed guitar riffs are here in abundance. The album is at times played so fast, those who are not used to this need to take one first preliminary listen just to get used to the speed. Dark Funeral musicianship and skills with their instruments need never be questioned, but it is songs like Feed on the Mortal that repeat the same tune over and over again. Not the band’s finest moment. In an interesting twist, probably because Dark Funeral drummer Matte Modin used to double in Defleshed before they disbanded, a lot of songs feature detuned tremolo guitar over characteristic Defleshed drum beat, a fast snare, but not the incessant blastbeat (666 Voices Inside, Angel Flesh Impaled). Matte Modin is probably one of the fastest drummers playing black metal these days, but he is very tight and, reportedly, had gone through all Attera Totus Sanctus without any triggering.

As much as there is old Dark Funeral in the album, it is obvious that Lord Ahriman decided to leave a lot of room for melody and other little moments, which, even though unnoticeable at the first run-through, are all meant to draw the listener in. Atmospheric reverend moment in the chorus of the opener King Antichrist, gloomy intro march and its echoing outro melody of the title track sounding very apocalyptic as if the demon on the cover is rising from the depths, quick solo and cosmic moment rolling above the tremolo riffs in Godhate, the ending of Angel Flesh Impaled, catchy riff of the closer Final Ritual – these are all the things you spot and make a note of. Atrum Regina slows things down even further and lets the melody flow supported by steady double bass. If not for Caligula’s gagging and vomitous touch on the vocals particularly in this song, it really brings Amon Amarth to mind. In fact, Caligula’s vocals could have used more low register, more power throughout the album to parlay better the usual, but well crafted, Satanic lyrics of anger and hate.

Going with Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah) as the producer, the band definitely received a shot in the arm. Drum production is the most obvious thing improved, and Matte Modin is a star. Bergstrand is not really a renowned black metal producer, so his modern approach in Attera Totus Sanctus may make the album more easily accessible.

It is hard to say whether Attera Totus Sanctus will “reclaim the black metal throne” for Dark Funeral. Did they occupy it in the first place? Yet, if you want to listen to a well crafted extreme metal album, do not listen to elitists, Dark Funeral certainly delivered.

Killing Songs :
King Antichrist, Attera Totus Sanctus, Godhate, Atrum Regina
Alex quoted 71 / 100
Daniel quoted 45 / 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 - The Secrets Of The Black Arts reviewed by Valefor and quoted 93 / 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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