Power failure hit the press conference venue, just as Dark Funeral arrived. Was it a divine sign of displeasure? The black metal band looked jet-lagged but true to the spirit of the Vikings, they obliged and smiled bravely at the cameras. Later, a seven-foot giant approached me: "HI, I'm Lord Ahriman from Dark Funeral." My lord, he was huge and if he had a moustache, he would resemble Obelix (of the Asterix comic book) So, upon the gravel-filled car-park of a Bedok Industrial complex, ADAM MD YUSOP and Lord Ahriman squatted and chatted. Pictures by FADILA.

How's the Asian Tour?

Tiring but good. It made us see the fans over here and the different cultures that they embrace. You know, doing the typical Viking thing. Rape, pillage and plunder! Ha ha ha.

What is really the music of Dark Funeral?

We are walking the tried and true route of blitz speed raging, raw black metal that is honed to sharpness by a very smart production from Peter Tagtgren (well-known metal producer in the extreme underground circuit). We were among the first to use him as a producer. The thing about bands who choose to play a style already done by many is that they must write only the strongest songs. There is no compromise. That way we will be appreciated for our music. We use intelligent and strong riffs, variation in tempos that allow the music to move beyond cluttered exhaustion, and, of course, those screaming vocals. The album tends to move as a complete entity. If you stop somewhere on the CD, you may not remember precisely which song it was you left off. Dark Funeral will not win prizes for "Most Ingenious Use of a Xylophone in Black Metal," but with such a good performance, The Secrets Of The Black Arts, our first album, is the kind of album that all black metal fans should have somewhere in their collection. Our new one totally slays!

How does the lineup change the whole sound of the band?

The mysterious thing about Vobiscum Satanas is that even though three-quarters of the lineup of Dark Funeral had changed, there was very little difference in approach, style or sound to The Secrets Of The Black Arts. Perhaps the production is a bit thicker, a little murkier, but on the whole it's just a continuation of the previous lineup's work. Perhaps we clone and churn out black metal musicians en masse up there in Sweden. As with Secrets, this follow-up album blitzes through eight speed-charged blast-infested metal with the signature black metal screeching grafted over the top. The question for the listener is: does Secrets fulfill all his needs with the style?

This year, it's going to take more than a few anthems dedicated to Satan to really shock people or make them take notice of a band such as Dark Funeral. With acts such as Emperor being linked to church burning and murder as well as Burzum's infamous stabbing incident, the lads in Dark Funeral would have to become mass murderers on the scale of Ted Bundy to gain any sort of press for their outrageous antics.

Dark Funeral are musically-oriented miscreants who are still pumping out our brand of blasting beat-loaded, chaotic black metal. Our latest, Diabolus Interium, is not exactly going to redefine the modus operandi for black metal but I'll be damned if we haven't done a smashing job with this record. Some of our fans are still convinced that we are some sort of very evil group and the lyrical content reads as though Satan himself hired us out for public relations. We have all sorts of odes to the fallen angel as well as anthems about sodomy and very loose women who may very well also be demonic in nature. For some reason I don't think the band will be taken too terribly seriously on these topics. However, in the area where it counts, Dark Funeral offer a walloping good heap of blistering, solid black metal. Diabolus Interium was recorded by Peter Tagtgren again and the resulting sound is one that serves up a timeless blend of old school black metal, trebly guitar patterns with a thicker, very clear overall sound that beefs things up considerably. This may be one of the most realised black metal sounds I can recall.

What do you think was the biggest challenge with this new recording?

I wanted the drums to have a bigger role in the music, more feel, and more alive. A big part of Dark Funeral is it should be a smash in your face. You can never get too comfortable with a nice part, because just when you think you can calm down, we come back with a fist in your face.

Click here for a review of the concert (plus more pictures)

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