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Dark Funeral
Vobiscum Satanas

Company: Regain Records
Release: 1998
Reviewer: Etiam
Genre: Black

  • Monotonous listening...their most mundane effort to date



  • When listening to 'Vobiscum Satanas', let us recall that it was released during the same year span as 'Destroyer...', 'Blizzard Beasts', 'Dauđi Baldrs', and 'Total Death'. In other words, a serious down year for the major players in Scandinavian black metal. It seems that, after crashing onto the scene in the early 90's, many black metal bands stumbled in the spotlight trying to find their groove again. Some broke the the modus operandi of their early years--such as Darkthrone or fringe player Enslaved--with mixed success. Others, such as Dark Funeral, entrenched themselves further in their original formula and carried on almost as if their first album and its success had never happened.

    On the one hand, this focus on their material is commendable, particularly considering all the backlash and bad karma the band has endured in the decade since 'Vobiscum Satanas' was released. On the other, however, it makes for monotonous listening. One almost wishes that the band had chosen the other path, and rather than ignoring their travails had embraced them for the sake of creative inspiration. 'Vobiscum Satanas' is only the band's second album, thus making complaints of stagnation a little unfair, but they are difficult to suppress in light of the band's subsequent efforts. The sophomore album is so often the 'make or break' effort that presages, or at least strongly suggests, a band's creative depth and breadth. Had Dark Funeral aimed to broaden their horizons here, rather than issuing their most mundane effort to date, who can say how much further their experimentation would have led them?

    Alas, this is not the case, and Dark Funeral instead plod their way through these eight tracks with much aggression but far less inspiration. Song structures rarely stray from the simple riff patterns Lord Ahriman has trademarked over the years: predominantly in the phrygian mode, they arc upwards from the root in tremolo form, waver around the 5th or octave for two bars, then offer a complementary second half that loops back into itself for a nearly endless repeat. Caligula's vocals aren't especially high in the mix (nor is his basswork, for that matter), and not having great projection in his upper register, he eventually slides into the background, an issue that is compounded by his limited variation in delivery.

    When taken individually, these tracks can be absolutely fierce examples of Swedish black metal; less sickly or grimy than their Norwegian counterparts, they rather aim for an epic sense of ceremony and depraved invocation. Standout tracks include 'Ineffable King of Darkness', one of the few in the band's discography that features Caligula's potent lower register and pushes the band's typically frenetic pace to greater extremes. Unfortunately, following seven songs nearly as fast and nearly as incensed, this song is but a minor climax to a self-defeating album.

    Note: The re-issue from Regain presents a nice booklet and a handful of live tracks from a '98 festival show, as well as a remastering for the LP proper to give it the expansive, modern quality of 'Attera...'.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: DARK FUNERAL
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Attera Totus SanctusDark Funeral
    2005
    Etiam5/16/2006
    De Profundis Clamavi ad te DomineDark Funeral
    2005
    Veritas7/25/2005
    Diabolis InteriumDark Funeral
    2007
    Etiam3/21/2008
    Secrets of the Black ArtsDark Funeral
    2007
    Etiam5/5/2009
    Vobiscum SatanasDark Funeral
    1998
    Etiam9/19/2008
    Where Shadows Forever ReignDark Funeral
    2016
    Greg Watson7/6/2016


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: DARK FUNERAL

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: DARK FUNERAL
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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