Latest release: Angelus Exuro pro Eternus (Regain/Riot!)

Dark Funeral is one of the founding bands of the second wave of black metal that emerged in the mid 90s and since then they have unleashed a steady stream of cold and dark hatred with a lyrical emphasis on band leader Lord Ahriman’s Satanic beliefs. In November, the Swedes will be in Australia for the first time since a brief stopover for 2009’s Screamfest and Loud caught up to Ahriman recently to find out what may be in store…

It’s been three years since you were here in Australia last. What do you remember of that very brief tour?
I only have good memories of those two gigs. It’s a nice country, Australia. People are really down to earth and there’s a good vibe and spirit.

You’re bringing Dark Funeral back here very soon for a full tour. What will you bring to us this time that you probably weren’t able to do last time?
Well we’re definitely going to offer a much longer set than last time. We haven’t decided the set for the tour yet exactly. But normally when we do a headline tour we go for between eighty to ninety minutes, which is thirty minutes longer than the last tour we did (there). We’re much more like a machine than ever before. It’s much more intense now than we’ve ever been.

Your most recent album Angelus Exuro pro Eternus got some great reviews, with some saying it was the best release of your career. What are your thoughts on that album?
Every record has a special feeling at the time it’s being written. Of course when that was written… there’s always a feeling that, “Ah fuck, I should’ve done that a bit different”. But that’s just part of the game. I’ve learned how to live with that and not go totally crazy. It came out the way I wanted it to. I wanted to bring out some variety and some new things into the music but keep the core, because that’s always very important for me. I like to keep the core and make things I little bit different, put a little bit more ups than downs in the songs and still keep the intensity. You always learn. Every record you write, you always learn new things, which is very interesting.

What do you think we can expect from the next Dark Funeral album? Will it be an extension on what you’ve done previously and will you be adding even more elements to your music?
I think you’re gonna get more rhythmic parts in the songs. Some of the new stuff that I’ve written so far is really rhythmic. But it’s going to be mixed into the normal Dark Funeral sound. There’s going to be some new things that will work will into our sound. A few new things that I haven’t planned yet, but I hope I can make things really interesting. I’m looking forward to complete everything, but it’s still a lot of work to be done.

So we’re not likely to see anything new until next year?
Next year, and we’re going to at least try to release a single before next year.

There has been a lot of people move through Dark Funeral over the years. How is the new line-up working out?
It’s actually working out really good. I’ve always been the one who’s been at the core and I’ve always tried to have good people around me, but it doesn’t always work out the way you hope. Now I feel that everybody’s more focused than ever before and take things more serious. They are real musicians.

From your perspective within extreme music, how have you seen it change over the last thirty years?
Oh that’s really a tough question. Things go in circles. One thing becomes a different kind of trend and some people try to name their type of black metal – give it another name to make it more interesting or something. I think of black metal as black metal. I don’t know about these other names people come up with. As soon as I see something like that, it takes off my interest right away.

So from your point of view then, in the end black metal is really just black metal?
Exactly. In the mid 90s, I remember, some black metal bands… they had some really fucking ridiculous names. They were like… I don’t know what’s going on there. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

It often seems that there really aren’t very many of the old black metal bands around anymore, but when you then scratch the surface and look deeper, most of them are still there somewhere.
There’s only a few black metal bands that do this full on, 24/7 thing. Most of the bands, they do it as a hobby thing. They do it on the side of, nowadays, family and a normal job. For Dark Funeral, the band has always been priority number one. Everything around it, well, as long as there’s time (for that), the priority’s always going to be Dark Funeral.

Your world view has long been informed by Satanism. What are your thoughts about the view that some parts of the world seem to be getting more and more religious?
I don’t see the world as getting more religious, I just think that the few religious people are getting more extreme to protect their belief. But I do believe that humans should be a little bit smarter. It’s 2012. To still believe in an old book, a fairy tale… we should have moved forward a little further I think. People get more extreme, I think that’s something we all can see. They’re getting less and less like people.

Do you believe that your music and lyrics have helped to introduce many people to an alternative way of thinking?
Of course, and I have received many emails about that too. I’m not pushing anyone to believe in or to live the way I live or anything. But if can at least if we can get people to at least question things, that is a good thing. People can’t just keep on blindly following things that they are told in school or whatever… they need to start to think a little bit for themselves. Start questioning things. Things aren’t always the way it seems.

Now, is there still something left for Dark Funeral to do that you haven’t yet done with the band? Some new horizon you haven’t yet explored?
Oh yes. I guess as a musician I guess what kept me going is always trying to improve myself and chasing the note, still! Putting things in a more interesting way for me as a guitarist, and as long as I have the interest to improve myself and my music writing and things like that.

Thanks Ahriman, I have to leave it there, but is there anything final you’d like to say to your fans before you go?
See you in late November. We’re all real excited to return to Australia, and coming with two new guys we can’t wait to show the new force behind the band with the new line up. I’m sure you’re just going to fucking freak out!

Dark Funeral’s Australian tour dates are:
22/11: HiFi Bar, Brisbane QLD (+ Empyrean + Shifting the Paradigm)
23/11: Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW (+ Draconis Infernum + Erebus Enthroned + Gods of Eden + Norse + Katabasis)
Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC (+ Draconis Infernum + Denouncement Pyre + Okera + Belligerent Intent + Iciclan
25/11: Amplifier Bar, Perth WA (+ Naetu + Wardaemonic)