A band’s sophomore album is in my opinion far more important than their debut. The first album is the band’s demonstration that their music is worth your time. The second album is where the most important things happen. In a band’s sophomore release, they get a lock on their own unique sound, they keep a solid lineup, and they show that they can progress and still sound good. Dark Funeral demonstrated all of those things, except for the ability to progress and further mature their sound from The Secrets of the Black Arts. Because of this, I was very disappointed in them because it sounds pretty much exactly like their first album.
After this album’s release, it wasn’t very well received by the majority of the community. By this time, the black metal scene was skyrocketing with bands like Gorgoroth, Immortal, Darkthrone, Carpathian Forest, Taake, Behemoth, and Belphegor were having huge fan bases and playing sold-out shows in Europe and starting to go on tours in the rest of the world (i.e. America, Asia, etc.) Dark Funeral was among those of Scandinavia (Finland, Sweden, and Norway) that were climbing the food chain. Not only that, the Scandinavian metal scene was exploding with bands like Opeth, Dark Tranquility, Soilwork, Nightwish, Meshuggah, and HammerFall.
Dark Funeral did pick up the pace as far as tempo goes, but there really isn’t much that they did that one could call “new”. This is what one of my buds known as “Miniradman” would call “generic”. This is black metal in its purest form, but I mean, I love the traditional black metal sound, but two albums in a row of just pure, generic black metal? After listening to Dark Funeral’s first two albums for a couple of years, I’ve kind of grown tired of them because I’ve found soooooo many other black metal bands that sound so much like them (except for the speed part, Dark Funeral is one of the fastest metal bands out there).
Now for those of you that have only heard Dark Funeral’s first two albums, check out all of the material they released after that, because you’ll find that their musicianship, organization, and creativity go out of sight. The vocalist also ends up drastically changing the whole sound of his vocals in the following albums which I will talk about later this week. But don’t let the general negativity of this review completely turn you away from this band, because they’re purely amazing and have one of the most epic sounds of any black metal band in existence. It’s just that a metal band at their status shouldn’t be playing generic stuff (although I shouldn’t be saying that because they weren’t huge at the time of this album).
The vocalist improved his screams quite a bit, I’ll give him that. But other than that, due to the fact of this album being so generic, there isn’t really much I can say about this album other than that it’s just plain ol’ Swedish black metal. But don’t get me wrong, it’s a great album, but if you’re looking for something new and interesting, this isn’t for you. I would give this album a 14/20.