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Dark Funeral Interview

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Dark Funeral Interview
It's rare that a black metal album makes the charts in any country, but Dark Funeral has a lot of popularity in Sweden. The group's latest album, Attera Totus Sanctus, was produced by Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah) and Örjan Ornkloo. It's Dark Funeral's fourth studio album and looks like it will be their most successful to date. Guitarist and founding member Lord Ahriman answered my questions about the success of the album, their recording process, the controversy surrounding black metal and a lot more.

Chad Bowar: Are you surprised with the commercial success of your album?
Lord Ahriman: Indeed, considering what kind of music we play, which isn’t exactly what the average metal fan listens to, and the fact that our latest album is our most extreme album to date. We were all pretty surprised when we heard that the album entered the Swedish album chart (top 40) and the Swedish heavy metal chart at #3. Other than that we have received very positive feedback from both fans and the press. So it’s pretty cool, especially since we have been through a couple of very rough years.

How did you decide on Daniel Bergstrand and Örjan Ornkloo to produce the record?
Our original plan was naturally to work and record with Peter (Tagtgren, who produced some of their previous albums) again at his Abyss Studio, but we never managed to find any dates that would fit for both him and us. At the same time Daniel contacted us and said that he would really like to produce our new album. And the more we thought about it, the more we discussed it with Daniel, and within the band, the more sense it all made. It was time for us to move on, to try something new and to finally begin a completely new chapter in the Dark Funeral saga.

Was your recording process different than for previous albums?
Indeed. This was the first time we actually put together an entire album while in the studio. Before we entered the studio, I had of course written quite a lot of material already, but nothing was arranged, and for sure not enough to fill up a full-length album. Besides, much of the material that I had written got a somewhat different turn once we began to work in the studio. So I had to re-write, but also write a lot of new stuff while we worked on the actual songs. It was literally not much sleep for me until all eight songs were completed. But once we got the arrangements going, I had so much inspiration I just kept on writing throughout the nights. And during the days we worked on arrangements and recorded. To work with Daniel and Örjan was killer. Personally I spent most of the time with Örjan, who really managed to bring the very best out of me. He not only inspired me to write, but I also learned a lot of new things by working with him, both musically and studio-wise. I’m totally satisfied with the production we got on the new album. And I’m pretty sure we will work with both of them on the next record too.

I understand they tried to get you to use some keyboards.
Yeah, damn! There were a few parts where our producers wanted to add keyboards. And they even did, but it was all removed in the final mix. But to be honest with you, the keyboard parts Örjan added sounded actually pretty damn amazing. He really knows that stuff. However, when I write music my main tool is my guitar. And instead of using keyboards to build up a certain atmosphere I let the guitars stand alone creating that atmosphere I am looking for. We are a very guitar (and drum) driven band. Our sound would just get ruined by using keyboards. And it’s not what I intend with the music I/we create. It’s just not Dark Funeral.

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