For someone who’s always found the DARK FUNERAL catalogue to be quite middling (save for “Diabolis Interium”) I’m really enjoying the shit out of their latest effort “Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus”. This one pretty much wormed its way into my subconscious from the first listen and it’s still a kick ass experience many listens down the line. Much of this rests on the fact that this album is very similar to “Diabolis...” in both sound and style, the band firmly eschewing the rather disjointed style found on their previous album “Attera Totus Sanctus”. That album suffered from overly chaotic song writing and a decidedly poor vocal performance, two key areas the band has completely remedied this time around, and then some! Whereas I might’ve been a critic in the past I’m completely sold by this album.
“Angelus...” is probably the most song-oriented album the band has ever done, with each cut imbued with just enough intensity, melody, and tempo shifts to keep the album from being bogged down by repetition. It’s an undeniably fleshed-out affair and one that really does incorporate all their strengths into one supremely good album. You get your traditional fire-breathing speedsters like the opening one-two punch of “The End Of Human Race” and “The Birth Of The Vampiir” (with new drummer Dominator throwing in some effective fills during the chorus of the latter), your multi-tempo and riff-heavy beasts like “Stigmata” (that races out of the gates with a killer riff after its somewhat demure opening strains), and even some slower numbers that stay in that mid-paced groove all the way through (“My Funeral”, “In My Dreams”). It’s during these somewhat down-tempo tracks that the band lets the melodies take full flight, with “In My Dreams” arguably the most “accessible” and emotionally charged thing they’ve ever done, even though its main melody sounds a bit like something off ENSIFERUM’s debut.
With not a dud track in sight (save for the naff lyrics of “My Latex Queen”...), and Emperor Magus Caligula totally redeeming himself with his spot on vocal performance, this is easily the best album from these Swedes since the aforementioned “Diabolus Interium”, and one that comfortably qualifies the band as most improved act of 2009. Brilliant stuff all ‘round, and for the love of all things unholy, please don’t make us wait another 5 years for the next album, OK?
(Online January 28, 2010)