Dark Funeral – Diabolis Interium

This is musical candy, and I’m really not sure how people couldn’t like it.  I believe there’s exactly two sorts of metalheads who don’t like Dark Funeral: people who think all black metal has to be sublime and meaningful and atmospheric, and people who think that all black metal has to be patterned off ‘Deathcrush’ and a single blast beat just ruins everything.  There’s the occasional odd duck who merely doesn’t like Dark Funeral in particular out of taste, but these days people who decide how they feel about bands on a case-by-case basis are practically creatures of myth, so I don’t think I’ve encountered any of that breed.  Anyway, ‘Diabolis Interium’ is great blast blasty black metal in the Swedish norsecore vein, with all kinds of great sort-of-melodic tremolo riffs, really violent and well-delivered vocals, good production, and the word ‘Satan’ repeated a few thousand times.  It’s one of the best of its breed and if you don’t like it you’re gay.

On the (very) off chance you haven’t heard Dark Funeral, this is what you get: really fast and constant blasting and tremolo riffing (apart from romantic ballad ‘Goddess Of Sodomy’) and dogmatic screeching from Magus Caligula.  It’s simple and effective because the writing is so good.  For instance: opener ‘The Arrival Of Satan’s Empire’ kicks ass.  There’s no other words for it.  It’s incredibly intense and brutal and hellish, exactly how I like (this particular) black metal to be.  But there’s another, less appreciated quality in Dark Funeral’s music which comes out in spades on this album: that is how very theatrical the band is.  Really, there’s not a moment on this album where they aren’t trying to be as overbearingly EEEEEVIIIIIL as possible, verging on self-parody without ever crossing over that line.  It’s ridiculous and dramatic, but they play hard and fast enough to really be convincing and not seem to be doing it ironically.  For that quality alone, the album is great.

Picking out stand-out songs is sort of pointless, but they do exist.  ‘The Arrival Of Satan’s Empire’ is a crowd favorite for a reason and is a flawless opener.  ‘Goddess Of Sodomy’ is actually a very underrated track, packing some excellent riffs and vocal lines along with the hilarious occult sleeze lyrics from some awful meeting of Mötley Crüe and Emperor.  The title track and ‘An Apprentice Of Satan’ are more blasting perfection, but what else is there to say, really?  That’s pretty much the whole album: blast after blast after riff after riff, perfectly composed to be as vicious and ripping as possible (aided by the thunderous and clear production).  If there’s a flaw, it’s that ‘Heart Of Ice’ seems like a somewhat anticlimactic way to end the album, with its long streams of mid-paced double bass overtaking frantic blasting.  But whatever, the half hour before it should be enough to please any lover of stupidly fast and aggressive black metal.

Is this effectively pop music in black metal clothing?  Yeah, it is.  This is maybe one notch above most Cradle Of Filth records as far as being as ‘respectable’ black metal piece goes, and in a lot of ways it just goes to the lowest common denominator without so much as a glance in the direction of mature songwriting.  I don’t really care, though, because I’d rather listen to this than Drudkh or Amesoeurs any day.  It’s more honest.


~ by noktorn on February 18, 2008.

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