Where Shadows Forever Reign
Still rooted in the mid to late 90s era black metal
Scandinavian mainstays Dark Funeral return with their sixth full-length album "Where Shadows Forever Reign", marking the appearance of new singer Helljarmadr whose vocals inject fresh life into the band. That being said though, you can still tell that this is Lord Ahriman's show to run as it has been since the band's inception. "Where Shadows" is definitely a step up from 2009's "Angelus Exuro pro Eternus" and shows the band aging like a wine kept in a dank, dark cellar. Ahriman's riffing is some of his best yet, full of aggression and melody yet sometimes taking a backseat to Helljarmadr's vocals. "Temple of Ahriman", "Nail Them To the Cross" and "Where Shadows Forever Reign" are definitely the standout tracks on the album for me. The one gripe, if you can call it a gripe, that I have with this is that the band shows no sign of branching out their sound. While it has definitely changed, the base is still rooted in the mid to late 90s era black metal. No experimentation of any sort takes place and the constant similarity in albums causes some of their material to get a bit repetitive and tired at times. Lyrically, they are still as blasphemous as ever, showing no signs of scaling back the blatant affinity for Satan and disdain for organized religion. This is what has made the band, but I wonder if this lack of movement and change is something that will condemn the band to less notoriety than what they should have. While other bands from this era have shown a growth and a shift in sound, it is clear that Dark Funeral are sticking to their blackened, evil roots whether it takes them to new heights or leaves them in the middle of the pack treading water.