Dark Funeral is a black metal band from Stockholm, Sweden, founded by guitarists Blackmoon and Lord Ahriman in 1993. They are one of the bands to have emerged in Sweden during the Second wave of black metal.
Their lyrical themes have traditionally pertained to Satanism and anti-Christianity. Certain past and present members including Blackmoon, Ahriman, Caligula and Chaq Mol have each declared an affinity for Satanism, with Ahriman and Caligula notably being practitioners of LaVeyan Satanism. In their earlier years their lyrical themes usually revolved specifically around depictions of Hell and Satan. After Emperor Magus Caligula joined the band their lyrics came to focus more on blasphemy and anti-Christian rhetoric, although there have been several exceptions to this.
The Secrets of the Black Arts
Dark Funeral was founded by guitarists Blackmoon (David Parland) and Lord Ahriman in 1993. Shortly afterwards drummer Draugen and bassist and vocalist Themgoroth joined the band. Their self-titled and self-financed album, Dark Funeral, was recorded in 1994 at Dan Swanö's Uni-Sound studio in January. It was released on May 4, the same day the band performed their first gig at Luse Lottes Pub in Oslo, Norway alongside bands such as fellow live debut band Gorgoroth and Marduk (who performed their first show abroad). After the recording sessions, Draugen left the band and was replaced by Equimanthorn.
In 1995, the band signed up to No Fashion Records and started preparing songs for a full-length album. After an attempt to record The Secrets of the Black Arts at Uni-Sound studios (again with Dan Swanö), the band decided to relocate to Abyss Studio and re-record the entire album. During the break between studio sessions, the band wrote the song When Angels Forever Die. With engineer Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy) on board, the band finally got the production they were looking for. Shortly after, Dark Funeral played their first festival gig, Under The Black Sun I in Berlin. A few weeks prior to this gig Emperor Magus Caligula (Magnus 'Masse' Broberg) replaced Themgoroth and eventually became a permanent member. The band also shot their first video for the track "The Secrets Of The Black Arts", which was well received and played on music channels all over the world.
On January 28, 1996, the band's first full-length album, The Secrets Of The Black Arts, was released and the album was soon licensed to Metal Blade (North America) and Mystic Production (Poland). Equimanthorn was soon replaced by Alzazmon (Tomas Asklund, later renowned for his work with Dissection and Gorgoroth). The line-up of Emperor Magus Caligula, Lord Ahriman, Alzazmon and Blackmoon recorded their versions of Bathory's Call From The Grave and Equimanthorn for the Bathory tribute, In Conspiracy With Satan. (These also appeared later re-mastered for the re-titled re-release of the band's debut In The Sign…). Blackmoon eventually left and founded War a year later. Together with Necromass, the band embarked on the Satanic War Tour I throughout Europe.
The second leg of the Satanic War Tour followed with Ancient and Bal Sagoth as support. Dark Funeral played their first show in America at the Expo Of The Extreme festival in Chicago. From there, the band embarked on The American Satanic Crusade Tour with Usurper in support. Originally, the tour was supposed to also feature Acheron and Deströyer 666, but both bands cancelled. In September, the band returned to the Abyss studio to record Vobiscum Satanas.
The Ineffable Kings Of Darkness Tour with Enthroned and Liar Of Golgotha took place with Dominion joining the band as a session bass player. The band also made their second major festival appearance at the Swedish Hultsfreds festival. After the festival, Typhos was fired and Dominion, who originally was a guitarist, was taken on as the band's second guitarist, and Caligula reverted to doing both vocals and bass.
Before the band headed out on the Bleed For Satan tour with Cannibal Corpse and Infernäl Mäjesty, Alzazmon left, and the band's longtime friend Gaahnfaust, who was also in the band back in 1996 for a short time, was recruited. The band returned overseas for another mini-tour Black Plague Across The West, when they played in Mexico for the first time before they headed to the US and the state of California. Afterwards, they also embarked on their longest and most successful European tour, The Satanic Inquisition, together with Dimmu Borgir.
With engineer Tommy Tägtgren, the band recorded the EP Teach Children to Worship Satan at the Abyss studio B (featuring the new song An Apprentice Of Satan and cover-versions from Slayer, Mayhem, Sodom and King Diamond). For the EP, the band also filmed a live video for An Apprentice Of Satan. They joined Deicide, Immortal, and Cannibal Corpse for the No Mercy Festivals. After the departure of Gaahnfaust, Matte Modin (Defleshed) joined the band as a permanent member and made his debut at the With Full Force festival.
In January/February the band again entered Abyss Studio, enlisting the help of producer Peter Tägtgren and studio technician Lars Szöke, to record their third full-length album, Diabolis Interium. Due to the overwhelming positive response to the new album from both the public and the press, the band were able to secure deals that brought their music across to a much wider audience, with licenses in Japan (Soundholic Co. Ltd), Brazil (Hellion Records), Poland (Mystic Productions), Romania (Rocris Disc), Bulgaria (Rocris Disc), Thailand (S.Stack Co. Ltd), Russia (Irond Records Ltd), Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China (Magnus Music). With the exceptional response to the album in Brazil, which was released through Hellion Records, another local label, Somber Records licensed the band's entire back catalog. As soon as Diabolis Interium was released, Dark Funeral once again went on tour. First they toured Europe, supported by Tidfall (NO), Anorexia Nervosa (FR) and Ragnarok (NO). On this tour, the band brought in Mikael Hedlund (Hypocrisy) to play the bass. After this tour, Mikael resumed duties with his main band. They recruited Richard Cabeza for the session bassist slot. The band also toured the US, supporting their longtime friends Cannibal Corpse. With Diabolis Interium, the Swedish radio station ROCKET 95.3 FM nominated Dark Funeral in the category “Best Swedish Hardrock Band”. Other bands nominated at the same time and in the same category were Breach, Entombed, and Arise.
In October 2002, the band embarked on their first tour in the Far East, which included shows in Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore. The band was the first western extreme metal band to play Taiwan and Singapore. On November 29, 2002, the band and MNW/No Fashion Records announced that they were no longer contractually-bound to Necropolis Records, who had licensed the band's 2001 release Diabolis Interium for North America. Official Termination of contract papers had already been delivered to Necropolis Records, putting an official end of Dark Funeral's tenure with said record label. This was a result of Necropolis' alleged breach of contract with the band and label.
After the Asian tour, guitarist Dominion felt it was in the best interests of both the band and himself to resign his position, due to commitment to studies. Dominion officially resigned upon the band's completion of their Asian tour. He would later explore other musical options. After this the band begin auditioning guitarists to replace the departed Dominion. A new guitarist was found in the form of Chaq Mol, who had a long history in different local metal acts. He is also in the two-man doom/black metal project Mordichrist. He made his official debut with the band at Wacken Open Air 2003.
De Profundis Clamavi Ad Te Domine
After a successful gig at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany, the band headed down to South America for a tour through Brazil, Chile, and Colombia. This tour became one of the most successful ever undertaken by the band. During the tour, the band recorded a couple of the shows with plans to release a live album. After sifting through the recorded material with their live sound engineer (Erik Lidbom, Hitfire Productions), De Profundis Clamavi Ad Te Domine was born.
Dark Funeral officially announced their split from MNW/No Fashion Records, after the band did not receive royalties for their back-catalog. A series of legal battles began, where Ahriman and Caligula sought the rights to Dark Funeral's back-catalog. Shortly after, the band signed a license deal with Regain Records for their live album De Profundis Clamavi Ad Te Domine, which was licensed to several other countries. On May 31, 2005 the album was released in the US through Candlelight USA.
In January 2004 the band partnered with Goatwhore (US) and Zyklon (NO) in Japan on the Extreme The Dojo Volume 9. Shortly after, the band continued to tour with a spate of Mexican dates. The band made appearances at festivals including Spanish Piorno Rock (w/ Sepultura, Saxon, Destruction, Lacuna Coil among others), Finnish Tuska, and X-Mass Festivals. The band appeared as the headlining act at Germany's Party San, Swedish Nordic Rage, and LA's Gathering Of The Bestial Legions Festival. The band also played in Italy together with Defleshed for a short, but extremely successful burst of dates. In December 2004, Dark Funeral then resumed touring by first playing Israel, and then hitting Russia and Ukraine for the Black Winter Days Tour, together with Horned NecroCannibals and Icewind Blast.
Attera Totus Sanctus
On January 20, 2005, they signed a new record deal with Regain Records. The band concentrated on writing material for a new full-length album, yet still managed to perform at the Metal Mind Festival in Poland, before finally joining the No Mercy Tour with Six Feet Under, Nile and Dying Fetus, among others.
On May 23, the band entered Dug Out Studios together with producer Daniel Bergstrand and Örjan Örnkloo to begin work on their next full-length album. The band brought in Gustaf Hielm (ex-Meshuggah) to play the bass on the record. On August 18, Dark Funeral's next album, Attera Totus Sanctus, was completed. The album was well received by the metal community. It entered the Swedish top 40 at number 35 and the Swedish Heavy Metal chart at number 3, an aberration for a black metal record. In November, Dark Funeral began working with Dragon Production, a division of A.S.S. Concert & Promotion GmbH. Dragon Production were entrusted with handling the band's tour bookings.
Dark Funeral performing live at BB Kings, New York City, on 10 January 2007
In Autumn 2006, Dark Funeral performed on a tour in South America. On October 8, 2006, at a concert in Lima, Peru, Dark Funeral were forced to perform without their vocalist and bassist, Caligula, due to illness. Many angry fans started a riot and vandalized the properties near the venue. Following the riot, all the band's instruments were confiscated by Peruvian police. After a week, the band announced they had to postpone their upcoming concerts in Latvia and Lithuania because of this unfortunate situation.
In early 2007, Dark Funeral toured North America with Enslaved. In April 2007, the band had planned an Eastern European tour to Russia, Ukraine and Baltic states. It was around this time that Matte Modin had allegedly concocted false stories in order to avoid playing with the band. He first alleged that he had an infection in his arm, and could not participate on the Eastern European tour. However, it emerged that he had chosen to tour with the punk band Raised Fist instead. After returning from the Metalferry show in Sweden in between, Matte announced to the rest of the band that he couldn't go to the Baltic states, as it was his son's birthday. Dark Funeral soon realized Matte Modin's motives. Consequently, the upcoming tour was cancelled, and Matte Modin was ejected from the band. In June 2007, the band announced Nils Fjellström, alias Dominator (also in Aeon and Sanctification, among others) as their new drummer.
The band toured North America again in Autumn 2007, and re-issued their first three albums, each with a bonus disc of material. In the autumn seasons of 2007 and 2008, the band released Attera Orbis Terrarum - Part I and Attera Orbis Terrarum - Part II, respectively.
On 24 October 2008, it was announced that the Supreme Court of Sweden had ruled in favor of Dark Funeral in the dispute with MNW/No Fashion Records.
Angelus Exuro pro Eternus
After several shows promoting the album, Dark Funeral launches their fifth studio album in 2009, Angelus Exuro pro Eternus. They also shot a controversial music video for "My Funeral". Which depicted a man committing suicide by gunshot to the head. The video explicitly shows the splatter on the wall behind the man as the bullet exits the back of his head.
The latter half of 2010 would see the band consisting of only Ahriman and Chaq Mol on guitars following the departures of Emperor Magus Caligula in July 2010 as well as those of B-Force and Dominator in the coming months. Caligula's was arguably the most significant after having had been in Dark Funeral for fifteen years as vocalist and lyricist, having had joined only two years after the inception of the band seventeen years prior in 1993 and of all the members of Dark Funeral had spent the longest in the band asides from Ahriman himself. It was announced Caligula was to be married and that he sought to settle down in his new life. B-Force already communicated that was his own decision to leave the band. Ahriman used this time to work on new material, in the absence of a full line-up for live performances and studio recording.
On June 30, 2011, Dark Funeral announced that Nachtgarm of Negator was to be the new vocalist. A week prior it had also been announced that Dominator returned to the band. On July 27, 2011, Zornheym was revealed to be the band's new bassist, completing the lineup.