Vobiscum Satanas (Metal Blade Records)
By: Jeb Branin
More cartoonish imagery and silly 'more-evil-than-thou' crap from DARK FUNERAL, but unlike many of their peers, they are somewhat excused for their poser idiocy because the music they create is devastating. This is their second CD and it is a marked improvement over the debut; probably facilitated by the fact that there is only one person returning from the previous lineup. There are any number of reasons that this is actually a black metal album worth pursuing. First of all it is fast. Blinding fast, yet it has clear, accessible song structures. It also has the complexity of death metal. The guitars have bite and are not watered down, as is the black metal status quo. There are atmospheric embellishments throughout the disc but they are kept to a minimum and are used as enhancements of, instead of replacements for, the heaviness. I certainly can't take anything this cheesy seriously and the image is so tired, it is nearly comatose, but musically this is very listen able.
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