Artist: Dark Funeral
Title: “The Secrets of the Black Arts” (remaster)
Label: Regain Records
Release Date: 7/31/2007
Genre: Black Metal
Originally released in 1996, “The Secrets Of The Black Arts” is the debut album and introduction to the world of the Swedish Black Metal kings Dark Funeral. As an album its content is very straightforward and perhaps a little too similar in overall style but one can forgive the band with their first official release. They do set the standard of the sound they will eventually hold some mastery over with tracks like the albums title and “When Angels Forever Die”. Of course like most pure and true Black Metal this is a sound that is not easily acceptable or recommended for everyone. The required levels of blasphemy are present in songs like “Satan’s Mayhem” and even the ludicrous by today’s standards “Satan’s Blood”. This latter track is just yelling the word “Satan” over some riffs and when one considers how much the genre has grown since it’s inception it comes off as rather comical. I enjoyed the pummeling nature of “Shadows Over Transylvania” and “Bloodfrozen” but with the bands first album there was far too many similarities in the tracks. At times it is almost difficult to determine where one song begins and where the other has ended. Over the years they changed this up a bit and have managed to even hold a somewhat symphonic quality to their sound even thought there is no keyboards in the lineup. The lineup is also something that will be a mystery to today’s fan as the album finds Lord Ahriman (guitars), Blackmoon (guitars/some vocals), Themgoroth (bass/vocals) and Equimanthorn (drums) making up its core. In today’s Dark Funeral roster (2008) we only find Lord Ahriman present. As an album this is a good one to have to know more about the bands earliest go at the format and the re-master features a booklet loaded with the arcane lyrics that make this a powerful Black Metal force. There are also photos of the band in all of their Satanic glory in corpse paint and sinister situations to enjoy. From the very beginning it was clear that Dark Funeral were a band who meant business.
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