They are widely considered a sell-outs, posers, "wannabes". To most of us, a Dark Funeral record is more of a media product. Something made with the sole intention of making money, lacking any form of substance whatsoever and having no real connection to the true black metal genre, despite taking its name.
The music of Dark Funeral falls under the catch-all term "speed metal". Boring, uninspired, generic billboard metal that tries very hard to sound "evil"... but falls flat due to the lack of musical talent from the band members.
The Secrets of the Black Arts is no exception to the rule.
But of course, there will always be poser black metal "critics" to claim that The Secrets of the Black Arts, Dark Funeral's first album, was actually a true (lol) black metal (lol) masterpiece (double lol) and that the band only became shit after that.
What else can you expect from delusional fake black metal critics ?
The truth is that The Secrets of the Black Arts is just as bad, if not worse, than the rest of Dark Funeral's boring discography.
And yet there are also numerous examples, within the black metal scene and elsewhere, of bands that started out good only to follow up with mediocre album after mediocre album for the rest of their career.
Dark Funeral is not one of those bands. With Dark Funeral, everything is utter garbage starting from their over-hyped beginning The Secrets of the Black Arts.
Once you listen to the crap that is The Secrets of the Black Arts, it becomes painfully obvious that the members of Dark Funeral have no idea what they are doing, why they are doing it, or even how to execute their weak ideas in a convincing fashion.
The Secrets of the Black Arts belongs to a particular genre of fake black metal, also known as billboard metal or flowchart black metal (like their following album Diabolis Interium for instance). Every hallmark of commercial fake metal is present on The Secrets of the Black Arts : stupid track titles, childish lyrics, lack of atmosphere, uninspired triggered drums, generic (and stolen) riffs...
Incidentally, is "Peter Pan black metal" a real thing ? If not, it ought to be because I have the distinct impression that I already heard most of these riffs in a Disney comedy.
And these riffs are not even used in a manner that could add a dark or evil atmosphere to the songs, rather they are used to produce cheesy "catchiness" "catchy" (as in Nicki Minaj) and drench everything in a typical billboard black metal non-atmosphere.
The lyrics are almost as shallow as the music. Just count the number of times the "vocalist" (if we can even call him that, since his vocals suck) screams "Satan !!" on this release. It's like the band members all sat together after their first music lesson (or worse, their first marketing lesson) and thought : "Let's pretend we're evil and start a Dino Burger clone".
The only "good" thing about The Secrets of the Black Arts is the Von cover. It's not even a good one, but at least is shows that for all their musical incapabilities, the members of Dark Funeral at least have decent black metal tastes. At the same time, it's kind of scary to consider that a one riff song (Satanic Blood) that's not even theirs is the pinnacle of Dark Funeral's entire discography.
For anyone that rightfully hates the Dark Funeral posers but is nonetheless curious about the myth of their first album being less crappy then the rest, avoid this unless you want to burst your delusional bubble. The Secrets of the Black Arts is complete garbage and would be absolutely worthless if not for the fact that it proves that Dark Funeral has never played real black metal. They began as the exact same posers that they are now, the only difference being that they had not yet cultivated the "Sathanas Legion Underground Anti-Christ !!!" image that they now flaunt around nor did they have as much of the plastic sound that everyone associates with flowchart fake metal.
The Secrets of the Black Arts sucks, like all of Dark Funeral's albums.
The Secrets of the Black Arts score: 0/10 (Joke Metal)