It has been 29 years ever since one of the big names that helped build the emergence of the Swedish black metal scene, Dark Funeral, first came into existence. To this day, they have released seven studio albums to note, with their latest one being We Are the Apocalypse, that was released on March 18, 2022 via Century Media Records; which is a renowned record label that has released albums by some of Dark Funeral’s Swedish black metal counterparts such as Marduk and Naglfar.
The resurrection that takes seven years
We Are the Apocalypse marks Dark Funeral’s comeback after 7 years of being absent from releasing full-length albums. What makes the creative process of this album especially spectacular is that this album was produced by Daniel Bergstrand and recorded at Fredrik Thordendal (of Meshuggah fame)’s very own Studio 33. It’s always mesmerizing to see metal legends collaborating with each other. Supported by the fact that Daniel Bergstrand also has previously worked for Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, and In Flames, this collaboration is a fairly groundbreaking one in the history of the extreme metal scene. Not to mention, the impeccably grimace-inciting album artwork of We Are the Apocalypse is created by the Brazilian visual artist Marcelo Vasco who has contributed artworks to several renowned names in the metal scene such as –but not limited to– Dimmu Borgir, Hatebreed, and Slayer.
First feature of two newer members
This album, despite prominently being a black metal album, also incorporates death metal elements here and there, making it a balanced act between unholy black metal and ferocious, speed-driven death metal.
A masterpiece of many influences
This album opens with the emotive-sounding “Nightfall” which has a generous amount of tremolos and blast beats. Then we also have tracks that present lead guitars in mid-tempo such as “Let the Devil In”. The track “When Our Vengeance Is Done” is full of speed and the upbeat nuances are even more elevated by the furious bass lines. “Nosferatu” presents blackened elements and malevolent aggressions supported by crypticness. There is also a track that comes in a slowed down pace and cleaner guitars, namely “When I’m Gone”, as well as a track with thrash influences which is “Beyond the Grave”. The track “A Beast to Praise” is a chaotic dissonance with almost hardcore-influenced intro, while “Leviathan” contains old school black metal influences. The album then comes with a perfect closer which is the title track “We Are the Apocalypse” with its haunting cacophony.
Exploring the deeper roots of second wave black metal has always been exciting to me, and this album makes second wave black metal even more alive and exciting. The upbeat-nuanced tracks of this album reminds me of Impaled Nazarene, while the darker, more cryptic ones bear the vibes of Marduk and Naglfar in my opinion. Even though I admit that I personally am still deeply attached to the legendary Where Shadows Forever Reign when it comes to personal preferences on Dark Funeral albums, I still think We Are the Apocalypse has all the potential to surpass boundaries and offer a mercilessly profound listening experience to the listeners of it.