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Dark Funeral - Where Shadows Forever Reign (2016) - Review

Band: Dark Funeral
Album title: Where Shadows Forever Reign
Release date: 3 June 2016
Label: Century Media Records

01. Unchain My Soul
02. As One We Shall Conquer
03. Beast Above Man
04. As I Ascend
05. Temple Of Ahriman
06. The Eternal Eclipse
07. To Carve Another Wound
08. Nail Them To The Cross
09. Where Shadows Forever Reign

Long has the world waited and knew the date for the beast to arrive! Dark funeral is back darker and heavier than ever before! Their new album Where Shadows Forever Reign, is the name that will circulate for a long time in people's minds. The album has a clear crisp sound , with loads of throwbacks to the old days of the bands entire discography, but still this one is nothing like you would expect from a Dark Funeral record I can assure you!

Every song literally stands on its own. Catchy riffs and melancholic melodic guitar riffs are all over and it seems that Lord Ahriman has really been busy and overdone himself. The songs are more organic than on previous records and perhaps more balanced as well, both "As I Ascend" and "Beast Above Man" are clear examples on how different this is comparing to previous albums. The guitar work is utterly perfect, those razor sharp riffs really play a dark beautiful ballad of despair to the listener and one thing that I really like is that the new songs have a fresh feel and in some way more power than the previous songs. Everyone knows that Dark Funeral songs are fast and tight, but this album gives it that extra kick that I personally have missed in the previous albums, the music and lyrics speaks for itself! Heljarmadr and Ahriman really worked close on this album and it shows in more ways than just lyrical wise, most of all in the way how the guitar blends in with the vocals. One other thing that I found very interesting was how they made each song stand out, not just by the fact that they sound nothing like you expect from Dark Funeral in the arrangement, take "Unchain My Soul" for example, a brilliant track melodic and right in your face kinda attitude, but still has that hard rock beat style in it, while "The Eternal Eclipse" has that straight forward Dark Funeral vibe we all know as typical Dark Funeral, blistering fast tempos and insane fills, but also adding room for some almost ambient parts. I don't think that Dark Funeral has ever sounded this dark or melodic. One thing I always enjoyed with Heljarmadr's voice is that while with most of black metal bands you have to really pay attention to hear the lyrics, while with Heljarmadr all words are as clear as the sound of all instruments. Each song has a nice twist and as always Dominator delivers a mind blowing performance. The album is mixed by Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, Behemoth, say no more...) and he definitely gave this album that deep dark feel that Ahriman described while he was composing and writing it. The album was mostly written during 2015 and some parts in the beginning of 2016. You can tell that many of the songs, both lyric wise and musical wise, have kind of a more personal feeling towards the really darker periods in life from humanity or perhaps Lord Ahriman himself. The tittle track sits so nice and plays beautifully along with "As One We Shall Conquer" (described as the love song).

From what I understand the album was done as a four piece band since bass player Natt was out, so Ahriman himself recorded the bass lines. This album speaks in volumes, every song has a very strong personal approach and is really Dark Funeral at their peak, they have really worked hard on developing the songs. "As I Ascend" has a very doomish slower mid tempo vibe to the track, while songs like "The Eternal Eclipse" or "Where Shadows Forever Reign" are those classic Dark Funeral song structures. Literally the songs will haunt and grind you to hell, rather than being an album full of blistering fast songs they have focused on delivering more variety and more dynamic songs than just playing at 280 bpm for 50 minutes. Ahriman mentioned in some interviews that he recently felt he wants to bring those elements into the sound of Dark Funeral and not just play fast and always challenge himself, and I'd say mission complete, the album is a real beast, melodic, fast and majestic, filled with melancholic riffing, parts of the songs could easily fit well into classic guitar melodies and harmonies.

My favorite track has to be the tittle track and "The Eternal Eclipse", both are a clear example on how amazing this record is and why I always loved Dark Funeral for doing what they do. The thing that I missed on the older records is all here now! The more prominent melodies, clear vocals and the fact that Heljarmadr has a very fitting voice to the new tracks, a bit more raspy growls while he never stops to amaze me on the variety of his vocal skills. I think many fans will be happy to hear the new record and many older hardcore fans will find themsleves back to the band, while this one will most certainly also reach further to new audience.

Review written by: Oliver
Rating: 9/10

Disclaimer: This is a guest review and it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the Terra Relicta staff.