Led by guitarist Lord Ahriman, Sweden's Dark Funeral made its full-length debut with 1996's The Secrets of the Black Arts, a rather predictable -- if extremely enthusiastic -- collection of typically vicious Scandinavian black metal. Unlike its more adventurous Norwegian neighbors Mayhem, Emperor, et al., Dark Funeral seems to know only one speed (full) and one volume (11), resulting in a continuous, unchanging aural bludgeoning that will simply bore all but those most committed to pissing off their parents. Simply put, these guys know nothing about tension and release. Where the aforementioned bands use eerie synths, evil choruses, and demonic strings that offset their thrashing just enough to give it even more shock value, Dark Funeral's all-out assault leaves nothing to the imagination, and much less to the senses. Still, if 41 minutes of sonic hell is your idea of a good time, look no further.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia