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Dark Funeral - "Angelus Exuro pro Eternus" (CD)

Dark Funeral - "Angelus Exuro pro Eternus" CD cover image

"Angelus Exuro pro Eternus" track listing:

1. The End of Human Race (4:43)
2. The Birth of the Vampiir (4:50)
3. Stigmata (5:06)
4. My Funeral (5:30)
5. Angelus Exuro pro Eternus (5:04)
6. Demons of Five (4:48)
7. Declaration of Hate (5:24)
8. In My Dreams (6:30)
9. My Latex Queen (5:21)

Reviewed by on November 26, 2009

"'Angelus Exuro pro Eternus' rises and falls on blasting drums and distorted guitars. They are present from the opening seconds of 'The End of Human Race' and continue on until the last moments of 'My Latex Queen.'"

The title and cover artwork of Dark Funeral’s new album "Angelus Exuro pro Eternus” should immediately cull out the crowd that doesn’t love blast beats and non-stop blasphemy. Those metal fans who relish imagery like that of a twisted and demonic figure overseeing the eternal burning of angels in hellfire will have found exactly what they are looking for. What isn’t apparent from the cover is how much underlying melody there is in the overall structure of the album. Just because they formed in the early ‘90s and hail from Europe doesn’t mean they have to uniformly stick to the old school black metal style, as Dark Funeral’s latest has quite a few modern and even borderline symphonic touches.

“Angelus Exuro pro Eternus” rises and falls on blasting drums and distorted guitars. They are present from the opening seconds of “The End of Human Race” and continue on until the last moments of “My Latex Queen.” Blast beats have been so overused in black metal they have officially hit cliché status, but Dark Funeral works them into the music with just the right finesse to prevent boredom. Through the all the chaos of the growls and guitar riffs, the drums maintain a strong melodic pace that keeps the songs on track.

As the album progresses, the melodic aspects come to the forefront more often, bringing to mind bands like Dimmu Borgir, despite the lack of keyboards. Vocalist Emperor Magus Caligula never sticks to the standard black metal shriek, instead letting out low growls, high screams, distorted yells, and deep clean chanting as the music changes. There are even a few instances on songs like “The Birth of the Vampiir” where the higher pitched screams nearly bring to mind Dani Filth’s iconic sound. The drums are kept high in the mix throughout the whole album and it often seems like the vocals are matched more to the drumming than to the guitars.

Each song has at least one tempo or pace shift to keep everything flowing and sounding fresh. Frequently the changes go from a particularly brutal segment of blast beating to a slightly slower drum pace, along with an accompanying change in the pace of the vocals. Oddly, the band decided to keep up with the lamentable tradition of hiding their bassist behind a wall of sound, as the addition of a stronger bass presence have been welcome and provided more variety.

Some black metal purists may not fully appreciate the segments where Dark Funeral alters the old school formula to mimic some of the more well known bands in the genre. Anyone who seeks out melody in chaos shouldn’t have any complaints, however. The constant melody underneath the brutality, without resorting to keyboards, is a commendable feat that many bands haven’t been able to achieve. Fans of high production black metal with a heaping dose of blasting should keep their heads banging for all nine tracks.

Highs: Iconic black metal imagery with a more modern and melodic sound.

Lows: The bassist is hidden underneath a wall of sound.

Bottom line: High production black metal that manages to sound melodic and symphonic without using keyboards.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)