The Ineffable Kings of Darkness make a monumental return with one of the best albums of their career. Absolutely no disrespect to the excellent, previous two albums, Attera Totus Sanctus and Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus, but Where Shadows Forever Reign is on another level and unequivocal proof that DARK FUNERAL is only getting better with time.
It was not easy to replace one of the greatest vocalists in extreme metal history in Emperor Magnus Caligula as evidenced by the short stint with vocalist Nachtgarm. However, Heljarmadr perfectly steps into the position. His most distinctive characteristic may be his clear enunciation of each word ala David Vincent, which brings greater communication to the great lyrics.
Where Shadows Forever Reign takes the classic DARK FUNERAL sound of pure darkness, unrelenting speed, and those fantastic melodies, and expands on it with a grander presentation, the most diverse songs of any previous album, and more soul. The songwriting is masterful in that there is always a perfect transition between song sections or a build up of a riffing theme within each song.
“As I Ascend” is a perfect example of the band’s growth as songwriters. This slow, brooding song is easily the most soulful song of DARK FUNERAL‘s catalogue. It perfectly embodies the journey and triumph of overcoming struggle and dark times in life. “Temple of Ahriman” is another doomy song that works well to create the blackest atmosphere.
In a coincidental way, DARK FUNERAL also fills a void left by the mighty DISSECTION in that the melancholic and epic melodies on Where Shadows Forever Reign are reminiscent of the latter’s first two albums. Let’s also give praise to the excellent cover artwork by Necrolord. Another instant classic.
In a time where most of the Sweden’s black metal bands have disbanded or compromised their sound, the importance and relevance of Where Shadows Forever Reign cannot be understated. Long may DARK FUNERAL carry the torch. (Century Media Records)