Dark Funeral - Corner Hotel, Melbourne, 24/11/12

Infernal darkness and devastation delivered by the ferocity of Dark Funeral.
The Corner Hotel in Richmond often hosts metal bands, but Saturday night the trickle of black clad metalheads through the doors were garlanded with spikes, a few with corpsepaint, and most with shirts that heralded Satan.
 
Swedish black metal stalwarts Dark Funeral had returned to Australia, and weren’t going to leave without getting as much out of their audience as they could. Since their inception over fifteen years ago, the band has had many line-up changes but still provides the infernal darkness. Many fans were there for the surviving original member, Lord Ahriman, and to see what his current hoard of black devastation would deliver.
 
A sparse crowd attended the earliest acts on the double stages, Iciclan and Belligerent Intent. But the crowd had started to grow by the time the blood clad Singaporeans from Draconis Infernum hit the side stage. With chains, robes and blackened gazes, they delivered good quality black metal with excellent guitar work. 
 
A break from the black death, local melodic death/doom band Okera were next to hit the big stage. Even with a replacement guitarist, they delivered a brilliant mix of their unique blend of melodic death riffs and plodding doom pacing set to deep growling vocals.
 
Denouncement Pyre hit the small stage to deliver a blistering set of blackened death metal with just a hint of thrash. Clad in leather, with enough spikes to set off metal detectors in Canada, they set the venue ringing with screaming distortion.
 
From the moment they entered the stage it was clear that Dark Funeral were not just here to play music, they were here to put on a show. Garbed in armour and corpsepaint, Lord Ahriman, Chaq Mol, Dominator, Zornheym and vocalist Nachtgarm were here to bring utter destruction and praise the name of the dark lord. The End of Human Race was delivered with ear bursting bitter darkness, overlaid with the chilling steady riff progressions characteristic of Dark Funeral’s expert handling of the black metal genre. 
 
666 Voices Inside churned with blisteringly fast drum fills, An Apprentice of Satan filled the room with the distorted black riffs, King Antichrist channelled blasphemous speed. Open the Gates had some of the crowd singing along as Nachtgarm drew everyone in, up and louder. Stalking the stage during the title track from their first full-length album, The Secrets of the Black Arts, the band delivered high energy black devastation. The early work of the band was well-represented, with My Dark Desires spewing forth in addition to the older tracks already played. Winding up to the end, from the most recent album Angelus Exuro pro Eternus, Stigmata launched itself out from the band with a life of its own to drive the audience into a darkened frenzy.
 
A three-song encore from the band ended in My Funeral. The drama, the dark energies and the sacrilegious destruction of Dark Funeral were all delivered as if each note were worship, and each lyric a dark prayer. Consummate performers, dark lords and brilliant musicians, Dark Funeral delivered a set only the high costumed drama of black metal can deliver.