Lord Ahriman of Dark Funeral: The Souls of Black Metal

"Dark Funeral have never compromised in our music"

1993, what a year - the 1993rd year of the Common Era to be exact. We saw the Velvet Divorce, Monday Night Raw began, Bill Clinton is inaugurated as the 42nd President of the United States and if you were my age you would have been learning how to use glue.... Another notable event during 1993 was the burning of Lundby New Church in Gothenburg, Sweden and amongst these times of the Lords of Chaos, located in the icy domain of Stockholm Sweden, Lord Ahriman and Blackmoon had emerged to reign supreme in the second wave of Black Metal.

Dark Funeral was their name and sheer extremity was their trigger. Only a select number of bands under the movement of Black Metal have truly solidified themselves into the halls of the prodigious – Bal-Sagoth, Australia’s Destroyer666, and of course Bathory are among the elite. The times were uncertain; the movement was pushing at full force – the public timid. The story of Black Metal is one of the most captivating in our history and at the stroke of midnight Metal As Fuck sat down with Lord Ahriman to talk some dark history and some Dark Funeral.....

Where Shadows Forever Reign the latest album to be released from Dark Funeral, and already causing quite a stir with critics, “I wanted to go all natural sounding on this record, it had to sound really powerful but still very natural, we used very little effects for the guitars, we wanted to go back to basics on this album. But it shows you can still make a powerful album without all the effects. That is what gives a special soul into this record; it has a natural production but it is still powerful”.

When do you feel completely satisfied with a product in order to release it? “When I write a song I don’t just write a song for a few weeks and think to myself, well I’ve worked on it for a few weeks now it has to be good – no, I keep on working on it until I feel every single fucking note inside of me. If I don’t have that certain feeling for every single part then I keep on working. We keep working until we’re all satisfied. I only write A side songs – B side songs will never get released [Laughs] so I have to be fully satisfied before I really let it go. When you look back at an album you can often look back with a different perspective and think ‘maybe I could have done that different or this different’ but I have to come to peace with myself and let it go, I can’t think too much about it. I’ll look toward the next record”.

The Black Metal movement; let’s talk about this for a moment - it has gained substantial ground over the last twenty years. Primarily it is more above ground than ever before - has this made it difficult to deliver the aesthetic on an album due to the *dare I say the word* ‘popularity’ among metal enthusiasts? “It’s hard to say, the only thing I can say is that now days there is a new generation who have their own take on the music so that has made things a little.... different. I can only speak for myself and I know that Dark Funeral have never compromised in our music, we have always been extreme – for some reason we have reached a wider audience, even to people who don’t normally listen to Black Metal. I can’t explain this but I think for us we’re still delivering the product”.

What was notable about the movement of Black Metal upon the bands inception? What was it about the genre that drew you in? “I’ve always had a fascination for the dark side, ever since I was young so when this more extreme music came about in the late 80’s, early 90’s it consumed me. When I started my first band (before Dark Funeral) it was a band called Satan’s Disciples – at the time there weren’t too many Black Metal bands around and Death Metal was a big thing - I do enjoy Death Metal but I don’t find myself having the same feelings with Death Metal when I write as I do with Black Metal so it was only natural that I took the path that I did. When I started forming Dark Funeral in the early 90’s the intention was to keep on with what I started with Satan’s Disciples and just go darker and more extreme than anyone else because we felt the music at the time wasn’t extreme enough, therefore we came up with our own perspective on extreme black metal and I still think Dark Funeral keep the spirit alive even to this day”.

In terms of the new album and more importantly the touring of the new album - I see the band are playing the European summer festival circuit which is nicely aligned with the release – however where else will the album take you this year? “We are working on booking tours worldwide at the moment; however a lot of plans cannot be cemented at this time as the record has not been released as yet, and I can understand some promoters are waiting until the record is released as they have no idea how we sound these days, however I was flooded with e-mails after the release of the single [Unchain My Soul - featured below] so the interest is back in the game, big time so we are following up on all the offers and hopefully we can start nailing in dates as soon as possible”. Hopefully Australia will be included in those plans, as we haven’t seen you guys for about four years now “Yeah, if you ask me I always want to play everywhere. I do enjoy playing live, I love to travel, I love to see different cities and cultures. We will cover as much of the world as possible”.

Where Shadows Forever Reign is available June 3, via Century Media Records