Everyone who's inside the Swedish (and not only) metal scene surely knows DARK FUNERAL; this quartet plays black metal straightforwardly at high speed without any muffled chords, combined with a constant melody and a grim voice screaming a dominant rhythm for each phrase. Their upcoming (and third album) will soon be released, and that's the main motive for this interview. The guitarist (and founder member) of DARK FUNERAL, Lord Ahriman, patiently answered my questions:
-Greetings, Lord Ahriman! First of all, could you start by telling us a bit more about the early days of DARK FUNERAL and who are the people involved in the band today?
- The band was formed in late 1993. At that time the band featured, beside myself on guitars of, Blackmoon (guitars), Themgoroth (Bass/Vocals) and Draugen (Drums). In May 1994 we released our debut in the form of a four tracks MCD. In 1996 we came out with a full-length album called “The Secrets Of The Black Arts”, in 1998 our second Satanic Symphony “Vobiscum Satanas” was released. And early 2000 we did a cover Ep called “Teach Childeren To Worship Satan” and this year our most extreme creation up to date “Diabolis Interium” is being released (already out in a few territories)! After being through several line-ups changes during the years it feels like we have finally found a pretty stabile , highly skiller, professional and well working line-up consisting of, Emperor Magus Caligula (Bass/Vocals), Dominion (Guitars) and Matte Modin (Drums) and myself on Guitars of course.
-Since the recording of the debut Mcd that the band's line-up suffered several changes...names such as Blackmoon, Themgoroth and Typhos were once within the band. Do you have an explanation for this constant joining and departing from the band?
- It seems like we have been cursed when it comes to finding professional and dedicated musicians to the band. Although, right now, with the current line-up, the atmosphere within the band is killer, and everyone are totally dedicated and burn for the Metal, and I seriously hope we’ll be able to keep this line-up together for a long time to come…
-I've already heard a promo of your upcoming album, "DIABOLIS
INTERIUM", and it's quite obvious that you´ve blended "Secrets of the Black Arts" and
"Vobiscum Satanas". Tell me more about this release (composition, recording sessions, lyrical concept, etc).
- All together we spent 5 weeks in the Abyss Studio. And this time we did not only work with Peter as a sound engineer but also as a producer, which was something totally new for us. We did also work simultaneously in two studios. Using the main studio A for recording and the final mix and a second smaller B studio, that Peter recently has built, for pre-mixing etc. Lars Szoke handled the pre-mixing. By putting up the recording session this way, we could work very effective, relaxed and take a step at the time. The first week we were basically only rehearsing, making the final adjustments and arrangements for the songs, looking for a suitable sound for the guitars, drums etc. We also wrote some additional ideas that we needed to complete the songs. It was indeed a very new way for us to work like this but it was most satisfying. Since it worked out so good I’m sure we will set up future recording sessions in a similar way. I basically write all the material myself, while Caligula writes the lyrics, but we arrange the songs together as a band. And when we come to that point, everyone get his own say about what I have written but also his personal input in the song making process of course. Besides being the absolute strongest material we have written so far. It is also our most technical and genuine album to date. Besides the usual high-speed-songs (now even faster then before) we did actually slow-down for one song called “Goddess Of Sodomy”, which resulted in a mighty hymn of darkness. With this album we wanted to achieve a better balance between pure aggression, extremity, atmosphere and melodies than before. We wanted to make each song genuine in it’s own way. Create a part in each song that would stand out totally from the other songs. Lyrically we are more straight forward then ever. We have also included some S/M theme as well. We manage to get pretty close to what we wanted to achieve with this album I think.
-What was the criterium of choice of the covers featured on "Teach Children to Worship Satan"? Were bands like Slayer and Sodom strong influences to you and the other members? By the way, when (and where) was the "An Apprentice of Satan" video recorded?
- The few criteria we had to record these four cover tracks was that it should be songs that spiritually had meant something for us. It also had to be bands that we found great respect for even nowadays, but also that the songs in themselves should be musically very different from what we usually play with Dark Funeral. The video for “An Apprentice Of Satan” was recorded at a show we did in Uppsala (Sweden) on October 8th, 2000.
-Regarding the band's new drummer (which I know nothing about), are you satisfied with his contribution? Was it difficult for him to adjust to your working method?
- Matte is also known for his great work with Defleshed. He ‘s definitely the most talented and professional drummer we have had so far in the band. It didn’t take long for him to get into our working method at all. He adjusted to us very fast.
-Some people say that your music is very monotonous, predictable.
They also claim that "to play a Dark Funeral track, the only thing necessary is one simple riff repeated endlessly, a screeching voice yelling 'Satan, Satan' and high speed drumming". Firstly, what would you say to these people? Secondly, how does the creative process for Dark Funeral takes place? Is there a pre-established conception of the music before you start writing in order for it to fit the lyrics or does everything comes out naturally?
- Well, what can I say...ha!?. If there really are some people who seriously believe we only put together one riff in various shapes, scream Satan a few times, and then call it a song and/or do not put any kinds of emotions and soul into the music, they got to be pretty fucked up I’d say. If someone does not like our music they shouldn’t listen to it. I never listen to music I dislike. We don’t write music to please everyone’s musical taste. We write music OUR way, the way we like it, take it or leave it. When someone criticize anyone in this kind of pathetic way they must have a huge lack of self-esteem and not capable in doing something creative by themselves. And to point out this sort of negative and totally pointless criticism to others is usually their only way to be able to live with themselves, in their own miserable and pathetic life. I do respect honest and well-founded criticism, but when people point negative criticism in stupid ways and/or by envy, which usually is the case, I couldn’t care less. Everyone is obviously entitled to there own opinion, but this kind of nonsense does just go in and out through my ears and it definitely does not effect us, the band, in any way.
- I know that you're involved in a project that answers by the name of WOLFEN SOCIETY, along with members from Acheron and Incantation (among others). Is the sonority of this project in the vein of DARK FUNERAL or was your goal to reach something more brutal and powerful? Did Tommy Tagtgren and The Abyss Studios managed to give you the desired tone?
- Musically it’s nothing close to Dark Funeral. Wolfen Society is an occultic misanthropic band for the legions of hatred! Musically we bring back the roots of underground Metal, while adding some modern ideas. I have actually not heard the final mix yet, but I have a total trust in Tommy so I’m sure his final mix will satisfy my and the others expectations. I have heard the rough-mix of course. And to me that mix sounded good enough, but I’m very much looking forward to hear the final result though. Our Conquer Divine Mcd is scheduled to be release through No Fashion Records (Europe) in January and through House Of Death Records (North America) during January as well I believe. Make sure to check it out!!!
-You've been a band member from the beginning till now... probably you have a favourite album,
- Diabolis Interium, our new album. It’s definitely our strongest album up to date. I do like our previous albums, but Diabolis Interium is more of a reflection of my present state of mind. And compared to our previous albums it’s indeed a great improvement in the song writings I think.
-In Sweden in particular, people seem to follow trends quite often, first with downtuned Death Metal, lately with melodic Black/Death Metal. In your opinion, what's the reason for this? Do people just have an enormous lack of creativity or is it possible that they're developing the same way? What future do you see for the Swedish scene?
- To tell you the truth, I don’t have a slightest idea, but the Swedish scene are as great as always, with many great and talented bands.
-About the global metal scene nowadays, any comments? Tell me what do you think about the so called "nu-metal" and other recent
- Well, even though it may lie a couple of years ahead it seems like the great unity we once had between the extreme Metal genres are slowly coming back together. And that’s cool I think. Musically I see a great future for the underground Metal scene, with many new and interesting bands coming up. Now I have never really understood what this “nu-metal” really stands for, and I have never been interested in any of the so called “nu metal” bands either, except for Slipknot, which I find a great respect for. Trends are never good, but there will however always be one or two bands that are like the leading wolfs, and usually it’s only them who interests me.
-Very well, I suppose this should be enough for now. Thanks for your time and keep carrying the true spirit of blackmetal! The final question is the usual standard one, I would like to know of your plans for the future and also some final words to whoever is reading this.
- Next up we have confirmed just a few one off shows before we seriously start touring throughout the world for the new album. We will play Spain, Chile and do this X-mass festival tour before we in mid of January finally start touring for real. Stay tuned for tour dates. Make also sure to check out our new Satanic Symphony “DIABOLIS INTERIUM”. Out through Necropolis Records on November 6th!!!!!! And be sure we’ll be back on a full-blown US tour early next year!!! Hope to see you all there, worshipping Metal and Satan!