Dark Funeral - _Vobiscum Satanas_
(No Fashion Records, 1998)
by: Pedro Azevedo (
Lurking inside this gorgeous dark digipak are 35 minutes of unrelenting black metal from Sweden. The rather beautiful and atmospheric digipak pictures are pretty much all that's beautiful and atmospheric in this album, though, for the music is always downright aggressive. But one thing is for sure: much of the enjoyment this CD provides comes from the fact that it was recorded in the Abyss studios with Peter Tagtgren. Some may not like his work, but the sound on _Vobiscum Satanas_ is simply amazing -- it's the best I have ever heard on a black metal album so far, as simple as that. Clean, yes, in a way, but also extremely full, sharp as a blade and brilliantly balanced. And Dark Funeral don't waste it, either: ferocious yet often catchy riffs, a slight Swedish scent prevailing sometimes, blazing drumming and extreme vocal performance. The pace is almost always remarkably fast, the exceptions being few and brief -- there is hardly ever a chance to breathe. However, the song structures could definitely have been -much- better. You'll find medium-sized, conventionally-structured songs, whereas with some more thought put into songwriting this might have been something else. Despite the quality of tracks like "Ravenna Strigoi Mortii", "Enriched by Evil" and "Evil Prevail", every track seems to have a couple of really good, relatively short sequences, but not much else. As a result, the album tends to become tiresome after a few listens, not only due to its structural simplicity but also to some, perhaps excessive, similarities between a few of the songs. Still, even with lyrics such as "I am the very essence of evil!!!! Evil!!!" (no joke, quoted character by character), this album does shred.
(article published 8/7/1998)
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