» Dark Funeral 2014 05 03  
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Reviewed by Tengan
Special guests: Grá
City: Stockholm, Sweden
Venue: Klubben
Date: 3 May 2014
Dark Funeral set length: 2 hours
Grá set length: 40 minutes


In this day and age with mixed tour packages designed for a wide audience it is a refreshing choice by Dark Funeral to pick genre brethrens Grá to open their anniversary show celebrating them 20 years as a recording band. Grá's tremolo heavy brand of black metal with their haunting and beautiful riffs and hooks might not be fully on par with that of the evening's main act but serves it purpose as opener perfectly.

After a somewhat hesitant start the band find themselves well comfortable on stage. Despite the limited space they compensate their lack of mobility by using sheer authority, with a little help of well-used stage lights, to hold the audience in their grasp. By small means they bring forth their message of death and despair to all those gathered this evening.

All would have been extremely well were it not for the piss poor sound. The drums are way too high in the mix and drown the awesome guitar leads in the up-tempo parts. The guitar of guitarist/vocalist Heljarmadr mostly gives a windy grinding reverb which further drowns the brilliance of Grá's performance. Despite the technical flaws I doubt I was the only one that rushed to pick up a copy of Grá's sole full-length after the gig.

In comparison to Dark Funeral's all-out satanic aggression, Grá's black metal rather brings the audience a feeling of melancholy and despair. When the gig ends by Heljarmadr throwing stumped nooses out to the audience they have built up a feeling of death and darkness in Klubben just waiting to be released.

Performance: 7 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 3 chalices of 10
: The hunger, energy and stage presence
: The sound

(sorry, no setlist)

Dark Funeral

By consistently creating quality hymns in the name of the Netherlord and causing the right amount of controversy ('Teach Children to Worship Satan' EP anyone...), Dark Funeral is an institution in the Swedish black metal scene. Despite an unstable setting they have managed to pull together just the right amount of members present and past to pull off a suitable anniversary.

From the very start the band shows the commitment and will to make this evening unforgettable. Rightfully, the audience is with them from an instance when the energy built up by Grá is released to a streak of classics from 'The Secrets of the Black Arts' followed by a fine selection of classics from their entire discography accompanied by intense light and pyrotechnique. The choice of tunes is really impeccable with half of the choice cuts stemming from their debut EP and full-length, the only personal favourite missing being 'Ineffable King of Darkness' which did not strike me until an hour after the gig.

Despite their shaky line-up the main force on stage this evening (apart from Lord Ahriman, Chaq Mol and Dominator, Emperor Magus Caligula and B-Force has returned briefly for duty) is well-rehearsed and formidably tight. With the small exception of Caligula who, in 'Attera Totus Sanctus' in particular, sometimes forget the lyrics and whose voice lack the strength of old the longer the evening progresses. Yet, he has full command of the audience firing us up the second we stop worship to shake the sweat of our bodies. His talk between songs is humble yet commanding with a good portion of humour ("and now a fast song", "and now it's a song about Satan") and you can really tell he enjoys it as much as the rest of us.

The sound related problems hampering Grá's performance unfortunately remains for Dark Funeral's gig disappearing med-set only to show its unwanted face once again at the end. Given the average high tempo of Dark Funeral's classics the guitars are at times indistinguishable.

As advertised beforehand, several members of old return for guest appearances. Typhos picks up Chaq Mol's guitar for 'Enriched by Evil' while Gaahnfaust (drums) and Dominion (guitar) enters the stage for 'An Apprentice of Satan'. The most memorable appearance however comes when Caligula hand over the microphone to Themgoroth. During that short intermission the spiked pig heads enter the stage, leathers armours come off in favour of pig's blood (or possibly animal blood) and the energy climaxes when the self-titled debut EP (later re-released as 'In the Sign...') is performed in its entirety. If Caligula sounded slightly out of shape, Themgoroth screams like it was still 1994. The audience gives what little stamina it has left, the band is massive and the entire venue is praising the arrival of the Southern Lord.

Dark Funeral gives us the commitment, choice of songs and guest appearances worthy of an anniversary and is rightfully rewarded by a dedicated audience. Despite a flawed sound it will surely be remembered by all those who attended. The band can take pride in their accomplishment this evening and the hunger for what is to come has surely awakened once again in the fans.

Performance: 7 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 4 chalices of 10
: The self-titled EP from start to finish
: Once again, the sound

The Secrets Of The Black Arts
The Dawn No More Rises
When Angels Forever Die
The Fire Eternal
Satan's Mayhem
Dark Are The Paths To Eternity
The Arrival Of Satan's Empire
Attera Totus Sanctus
Goddess Of Sodomy
Enriched By Evil
666 Voices Inside
In My Dreams
An Apprentice Of Satan
Open The Gates
Shadows Over Transylvania
My Dark Desires
In The Sign Of The Horns
Vobiscum Satanas
My Funeral

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