Dark Funeral - _Attera Totus Sanctus_
(Regain Records, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (
Well, they've certainly been taking their sweet time. As a matter of fact, it's been four years since Dark Funeral last set foot in a studio with the intention of recording new music; and if absence makes the appetite grow stronger, then time away from the rigors of committing fresh material to disc has certainly prompted these Swedes to crank up the volume just a few notches.Those that cringe at the thought of nigh-on-ceaselessly blasting black metal may as well skip to the next review, because _Attera Totus Sanctus_ has precious little to offer in the way of variety. This is an exercise in relentless, misanthropic violence that leaves all of its predecessors cowering. Even when it does enter the occasionally demure moment -- as it does on "Atrum Regina" -- Emperor Magus Caligula's searing rasp remains in overdrive; lending an urgent, primitive ferocity to the music.In the midst of this, it's the band's knack for injecting subtle strands of dissonant melody into the melee that really earn them points. For better or worse (depending on where you stand on the purity of black metal production), Daniel Bergstrand's layered, crystalline recording plays a major role in facilitating this. Together, it elevates songs like "King Antichrist" and "Angel Flesh Impaled" to something distinctly more exciting than just off-cuts from _Panzer Division Marduk_. Although "Feed on the Mortals" may hint at "Secrets of the Black Arts" to the point of sounding hackneyed, for sheer brute belligerence Dark Funeral score a bullseye with frightening precision.
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