The Dark Age Has Arrived
CoC Interviews Lord Ahriman of Dark Funeral
by: Adam Wasylyk
One of many black metal bands to embrace aggression and harshness, Dark Funeral are one of Sweden's bigger bands, and rightfully so, judging from their well-received debut, 1996's _The Secrets of the Black Arts_. A cold exercise in outright brutality, the aforementioned record has just been given the domestic treatment by Metal Blade (Attic here in Canada), meaning more black metal fans in this part of the world will be treated to a record well worth its weight in blasphemy. A failed phone interview transmogrified into an e-mail interview with co-founding member Lord Ahriman, who was cool enough to answer some questions about their upcoming US tour, their upcoming record, and various other matters.

CoC: Even though this album has been out for quite a while, why don't you tell me about _The Secrets of the Black Arts_, for those who haven't had the pleasure of hearing it.

Lord Ahriman: _The Secrets of The Black Arts_ was recorded during two weeks in the Abyss Studio in July '95. Musically, it can be described as pure Satanic mayhem. It includes 11 tracks with a combination of ultra brutal riffs and pure blood-freezing melodies with eerie classical themes in a furious speed.

CoC: So since the recording of this album in the summer of 1995, three of the four band members have left, leaving you to pick up the pieces. Please update us on your present-day line up.

LA: Besides me on guitar, the current line-up consists of Typhos (guitar), Emperor Magus Caligula (bass & vocals) and Alzazmon (drums).

CoC: Due to these line-up changes, has Dark Funeral's sound changed? More melodic/atmospheric? More aggressive?

LA: Even if I'm the only original member left, you shouldn't expect any sudden changes. But I am sure that people will notice that we have changed a few members. Partly, we are more tight as a unit than we were with any previous line-up. Our new material is like a natural improvement on our previous album _The Secrets of The Black Arts_. The main difference is that we have now included more rhythms as well as increased the speed. The new songs are also far darker, more technical, and much more varied than on our last release. This makes each track genuine in its own way. We have improved the previous style, but also continued in a more genuine and professional way.

CoC: What is your view on being picked up by Metal Blade for US distribution? Was it something that was a complete surprise to you, or was this a deal long in the making?

LA: Yeah, when I first heard about it, it was definitely a big surprise to me. Although from the day we received the offer, it took about 6 months before the deal was set, and a few more months before the album finally was released in the States.

CoC: Have you been looked down upon by other black metal bands for making what they may see as a "commercial" or "mainstream" move by having Metal Blade involved in your distribution?

LA: No. So far I haven't noticed, or heard any negative words towards us about being licensed to Metal Blade, even though I'm sure there must be some envious motherfuckers who believe that we have turned into a more commercial act because of this. But I can assure you that we will forever be true to the underground!!!

CoC: What is the present relationship between you and No Fashion? What are your thoughts on its band roster?

LA: It's very satisfying. No Fashion are doing an excellent job for us, although it can never be too good, if you know what I mean. There are a few acts on the label that I really like, and respect for what they are doing. There are also a few bands I consider to be purely shit, but enough of that.

CoC: Describe a Dark Funeral live show.

LA: Our hellish live performance is like a black mass. It's probably one of the most extreme and intense live performances you could ever behold. The introduction of the show, consisting of a destruction ritual, is performed live by the four of us. We are painted like demons, wearing spikes and rivets, and of course covered with pure animal blood. We also carry ancient weapons. The show includes fire-breathing as well as our typical stage show, in which we have pig heads impaled on two huge inverted crosses placed in the front of the stage. Unfortunately, due to hygienic causes, most of the venues, at least during our last European tour, refuse to let us perform with the pig heads. However, when the pig heads are included in the show, Emperor Magus Caligula and I end the show by slashing them into pieces.

CoC: Some have said that this use of the pig heads in your live show is a rip-off of Mayhem's. What's your response to this?

LA: Ha, before someone should say anything stupid like that, I would suggest that he or she check out our hellish live performance. It's not even close to the Mayhem show, as Mayhem did only one single show with pig heads. We have done over 40.

CoC: I heard that Emperor Magus Caligula recently injured himself on stage at a show you played in Finland. What happened?

LA: It wasn't in Finland. It happened during our last tour throughout Europe on the opening show in Geeleen (NL). At the end of that show, while Emperor Magus Caligula and I slashed the pig heads into pieces, Caligula happened to hit himself on the leg with a big butcher's knife. Even if the blood was pounding out from his veins, he was still able to continue the show without any interference.

CoC: So you are presently recording at the Abyss Studio. Please give us a studio update and describe how the material is coming out.

LA: Yeah, we have recently completed a three week recording session in the Abyss Studio (Sept. 1- Sept. 21), which means that a new Satanic symphony of Dark Funeral finally is completed and put on tape. During the three weeks we spent in the Abyss Studio, we recorded 8 tracks, which in total have a running time on 35 minutes. A few of the new titles are: "Slava Satan", "Ravenna Strigoi Mortii", "Ineffable King of Darkness", and "Enriched By Evil". In my opinion, this is the most superior recording we have done to date. It's also the fastest and most aggressive, yet it holds a very melodic and hellish atmosphere. The album will carry the title _VOBISCUM SATANAS_, and the release is scheduled in February '98. Stay tuned for a new christ-raping piece of wrath!!

CoC: Since _The Secrets..._ was released, Blackmoon has left the band. What were the reasons for his departure? And with him being one of the creators of Dark Funeral, was the band's future ever in doubt?

LA: Hell no, the future of the band was never in doubt. We had and still have everything under total control. Due to several reasons, we came to a point where the cooperation between Blackmoon and us, the rest of the band, couldn't continue. The new and present lineup is the best we have had so far. And I would say that we have finally found a stable, well working, and highly professional lineup.

CoC: Blackmoon was very outspoken about his views of Christianity. What are your views concerning religion and Christianity?

LA: I'm an elitist and a diehard Satanist, so I guess my opinions about religions and Christian people are quite obvious.

CoC: What's the relationship between Swedish black metal bands? Is it on the friendship side, or on the more competitive side?

LA: Well, there is this kind of silly backstabbing and threats between almost each and every band. There are only a few bands that I find worth in socializing with. I have, as you might understand, stopped caring about all this childishness going on within the scene. I just ignore these kind of low life attitudes. All this shit is just a matter of jealousy, so why fucking bother?

CoC: How did it come about for Dark Funeral to play its first gig in North America? A tour is planned -- which bands are on it, and what are the dates/venue's planned?

LA: It's a long story, but I will make it short. A couple of months ago, I made like a business call for House of Kicks/No Fashion Records to Shane Bugbee. I did not present myself as being Lord Ahriman of Dark Funeral. I went under another alias. After a while, he mentioned that he was planning to put up a huge festival, Expo of the Extreme. Since I was doing this phone call for H.o.K., I couldn't resist asking him if he would be interested in bringing over a band from No Fashion. After going through all the bands, he said "I want Dark Funeral to play the festival." I guess Shane was pretty surprised when I finally told him that I was Lord Ahriman, guitarist of Dark Funeral. Later the tour plans came up. We were asked to headline the tour. And of course we were [willing]. At first it was only planned to be a mini-tour, but as time has passed it is now a full scheduled U.S. tour. We will start the tour in Chicago at the Expo of the Extreme Oct. 31st and do, as far as I'm informed, the last show in Oregon Nov. 29th. Besides Dark Funeral, the tour will include Acheron, Destroyer 666, and Usurper.

CoC: Any message/warning to your fans here in North America before your arrival on these shores?

LA: Join us in Chicago at the Expo of the Extreme and during our "American Satanic Crusade Tour". And together, let's summon the demon god and invoke the new dark age!!!

(article submitted 17/11/1997)

12/7/2005 J Smit Dark Funeral: Until You Call on the Dark
1/4/2010 J Smit 5.5 Dark Funeral - Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus
10/24/2005 J Smit 8.5 Dark Funeral - Attera Totus Sanctus
8/12/2000 A McKay 9.5 Dark Funeral - Teach Children to Worship Satan
7/8/1998 P Azevedo 8 Dark Funeral - Vobiscum Satanas
8/12/1996 S Hoeltzel 5 Dark Funeral - Secrets of the Black Arts
1/10/2001 A Wasylyk Dark Funeral / Blood of Christ / Endless Satanic Swedes and Chugging Canadians
8/12/2000 M Noll Deicide / Immortal / Cannibal Corpse / Marduk / Vader / Dark Funeral / Hate Eternal / Vomitory There's No Mercy in Satan's Oven
5/19/1999 P Azevedo Dimmu Borgir / Dark Funeral / Dodheimsgard / Evenfall The Darkest Night of the Year
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