Dark Funeral was formed in 1993, by Blackmoon and Lord Ahriman. Blackmoon had already founded the Satanic Death Metal band, Necrophobic, releasing The Nocturnal Silence. Joined by Themgoroth and Draugen, the band entered Dan Swanö's Hellspawn/Unisound Studios to record the Dark Funeral E.P.
"Open the Gates" begins this debut release with hellish fury, before going into a very oldschool section. Blackmoon's riffs, as always, have a very nocturnal feeling to them. Themgoroth's vocals are somewhat reminiscent of Hat (of Gorgoroth). While being executed in a different style, this really does create the same kind of atmosphere as Necrophobic.
"Shadows Over Transilvania" features some brilliant tremolo riffs and a sinister atmosphere that is only accentuated by Themgoroth's vocal performance. There are a handful of tempo changes, with the song slowing down a bit, near the end. This Swedish cult is definitely rooted in the older bands.
"My Dark Desires" continues the Satanic assault. One notices that the production os a lot closer to that of Marduk's Those of the Unlight. Perhaps the EP would have sounded even better if they had managed to get the same sound that Dissection did on The Somberlain (which was recorded at the same studio). About half-way through the song, the pace slows down and the melodies really take you into the night sky, beyond the realm of the living. Themgoroth's infernal vocals can be considered nothing less than a demonic possession captured on tape.
This final song opens with some of the best riffs of the album, melodies that will remain with you long after the song has concluded. "In the Sign of the Horns" expresses the desire to go from the world of light and to be embraced by darkness, for ever. As can be said for the rest of the album, the cold nocturnal melodies wrap around your throat and the hellish vocals summon forth the dark lord.
"In the sign of the horns
Come and take my life
In the sign of the horns
I must die"
Believe it or not, Dark Funeral was once a good band, prior to making music only to please the masses and having a rockstar mentality. This E.P. is absolute proof of the band's worth, in the long-forgotten past. If you have only been exposed to those later recordings, you owe it to yourself to seek this E.P. out. For that matter, it is recommended that you also listen to The Secrets of the Black Arts, as well. Beyond these two releases, consider the band irrelevant.