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Darkthrone

Of all the major second wave black metal bands to emerge from Norway's fertile breeding grounds during the early 1990s, only a handful -- Mayhem, Emperor, Enslaved, Ulver -- have achieved the same exalted status and world-wide recognition as the legendary Darkthrone; and arguably none has been as consistent or prolific in the decades that followed. Unlike the majority of their peers, Darkthrone largely refused to tinker with their refreshingly straightforward and savage black metal formula once it was established, leaving it to others to evolve the genre into astonishingly eclectic directions, ranging from the symphonic to the avant-garde, and even beyond the boundaries of heavy metal itself. Instead, for Darkthrone's longstanding central duo, Nocturno Culto (vocals, guitar, bass) and Fenriz (drums), the aesthetic preservation and ongoing exploration of their chosen style's intentionally raw and unsophisticated original template has been a career-long obsession, and this has arguably established their legacy as black metal's most reliable driving force.

But it didn't start out that way, of course -- not by a long shot -- since, after adopting the Darkthrone moniker in 1987 (previously, they were prophetically named "Black Death"), vocalist/guitarist Nocturno Culto (née Ted Skjellum), guitarist Zephyrous, bassist Dag Nilsen, and drummer Fenriz (Gylve Nagell) were writing death metal songs! Based in the Oslo suburb of Kolbotn, the fledgling group recorded four demo tapes over the next couple of years (Land of Frost, A New Dimension, Thulcandra, and Cromlech) and was eventually signed by England's Peaceville Records, for whom they recorded their 1991 debut, Soulside Journey. As suggested earlier, this contained technical death metal in a similar vein to then dominant Swedish groups like Entombed, Edge of Sanity, and Tiamat, and was severely at odds with the small, but dedicated heavy metal community coalescing around Oslo's now infamous (and extinct) Helvete record store. It was at this nondescript location, operated by Mayhem guitarist Euronymous, that the seeds were sowed for the so-called "Inner Circle" of Norwegian black metal, whose subsequent activities (involving numerous counts of arson, suicide, and the murder of Euronymous himself at the hands of Burzum's Varg Vikernes) inadvertently drew more international attention than the inaccessible music itself ever could. It was also at Helvete that the members of Darkthrone fell under black metal's irresistibly evil spell, and, no doubt influenced by Mayhem's primal racket -- not to mention first generation black metal bands like England's Venom, Switzerland's Hellhammer, Sweden's Bathory, and Brazil's Sarcófago -- they began applying corpse makeup and turned their backs on death metal forever.

And so it came to pass that when Peaceville took delivery of the masters for Darkthrone's sophomore album, A Blaze in the Northern Sky, in 1992, legend has it that they thought this was a joke; such was the inexplicably crude violence perpetrated by its sometimes epic-length black metal odes to all things wicked and obscure. But once they discovered that the album's lo-fi standards were in fact entirely planned (and after much acrimonious haggling between both parties), the album was duly released against the label's better judgment, this being that it was doomed to fail (and bassist Nilsen apparently agreed, since he recorded his parts and promptly quit the band). But instead, Blaze became a turning point, philosophically and literally, for both Darkthrone and the entire black metal genre, which it helped to reignite, and was immediately embraced by extreme metal fans, after piquing their interest in the style's uncompromisingly vicious and unrefined roots. Thus vindicated, Darkthrone devoted all of their energies to their new, demonically inspired musical direction, so that subsequent albums like 1993's Under a Funeral Moon (the last to feature guitarist Zephyrous, who reportedly simply "vanished") and 1994's Transilvanian Hunger (their first recorded as a duo, with added lyrics contributed by Varg Vikernes) became increasingly controversial of sound and content. Specifically, a few of the latter's liner notes were deemed by some critics to be anti-Semitic, and would result in recurring future headaches and denials on the group's part for years to come. These escalating tensions also coincided with Darkthrone's departure from Peaceville before signing a new deal with Norway's own Moonfog Productions, helmed by their friend Satyr, of Satyricon. There followed a trio of LPs that were welcomed with alternating displays of enthusiasm or sheer hatred, but rarely ambivalence, including 1995's formidable Panzerfaust (openly acknowledged as an homage to Hellhammer and early Celtic Frost), and 1996's Total Death and Goatlord -- both of which lacked their predecessors' quality, and the latter of which essentially consisted of a re-recording of Darkthrone's abandoned, would-be second death metal album, clumsily "roughed up" to ape black metal form. Fans were not impressed, however, and as word spread that Nocturno had been virtually absent from the sessions for these recent albums, Darkthrone's career seemed to be in serious jeopardy.

But the cult of Darkthrone at the end of the 20th century was grown stronger than ever, as evidenced by the release of not one but two tribute albums in 1998 and 1999, that, along with the duo's first extended break in a decade, eventually spurred Fenriz and Nocturno back into action via 1999's Ravishing Grimness (a slight return to form, despite boasting uncommonly "clean" production) and 2001's somewhat inconsistent Plaguewielder (marking a return to dirtier, blackened thrash sounds). Having regained their momentum, though, the band would press on, arguably rediscovering their songwriting "mojo" with their next two albums, 2003's Hate Them and 2004's Sardonic Wrath, which made suspicious use of a few synthesizer intros, but otherwise remained commendably "trve" to the band's traditional analog black metal style, with added emphasis placed on concocting simple yet memorable guitar riffs reminiscent at times of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. In line with this display of historical appreciation, mid-2004 also saw the release of the self-explanatory compilation CD, Fenriz Presents: The Best of Old School Black Metal, featuring classic tracks from Celtic Frost, Sarcófago, Mayhem, Destruction, and others -- as the drummer took it upon himself to sift through the wreckage of those cursed and chaotic years, post-"Inner Circle: to praise the music on its own terms.

Back on the Darkthrone front, a pair of inconspicuous EPs (2005's Under Beskyttelse av Morke and 2006's Too Old, Too Cold) preceded the band's next and, amazingly, twelfth album, The Cult Is Alive, which surprisingly found them reunited with Peaceville Records, a decade after their separation (leading to the inevitable CD reissues). Even more surprising was the album's adoption of certain punk rock elements that immediately had cynics accusing Fenriz and Nocturno of selling out to "black & roll" -- especially after they proceeded to embrace the experiment even more seriously on their 2007 follow-up, F.O.A.D. and its accompanying EP, N.W.O.B.H.M., which effectively paid sonic tribute to just that. (Around this time, Nocturno Culto also completed and released a feature film about black metal and life in Norway named The Misanthrope.) In essence, these music releases made it clear that Darkthrone's twin masterminds refused to be confined into any specific stylistic box, just to appease old fans and preconceived expectations; and so their ongoing fascination with old-school punk, traditional heavy metal, and classic first wave black metal characteristics (naturally), continued to be advanced, unapologetically, via 2008's Dark Thrones & Black Flags. That same year, Peaceville celebrated Darkthone's 21st anniversary with the Frostland Tapes, which collected all four of the group's early demos, the original Goatlord demos, and a rare 1990 live concert in Denmark -- one of only a handful ever performed by this studio-bound duo. And a studio somewhere in Oslo is where Fenriz and Nocturno Culto probably find themselves even now; once again plotting Darkthrone's eagerly awaited and equally despised next move along black metal's endless left-hand path. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

petec31aug19 8 4 9
Haha moomoo love the comment \m/
lol @ MooMoo
metalnorm
These guys I think are nothing but awesome cause of their brutal and raw goddamn sound, If you don't like it I don't care. \m/
They got the name for this band after they saw a toilet where someone took a crap on the seat. It reminded them of their music.
Darkthrone didn't sell out. They did run out of innovative tricks and don't pretend otherwise that's why they got a mascot. And yeesh at dinosaur's comment.
These guys and Gorgoroth are my two favorite Black metal bands. This song is f**king killer,incid e n t a l l y . Got this cd and a bunch of their other s**t.
If you love black metal and death metal follow me for the heaviest bands in existence
Darkthrone f**king rules!
Dickfuk fo rlife
There is no such thing as being a poser, stop being such an elitist and let people listen to what they want to listen to.
HAHAHAHAHAHA H A H A H A H A H A H A H A H A H A . . . . HAHAHAHA WTF
Just got under a funeral moon the other day and I gotta say its fantastic.
Güten nacht . Dark throne schön
Half of you f**ks posting on this, ARE POSERS. F**k off.
Music makes me want to throw up and sell my soul to the devil...
My absolute favorite song from darkthrone
Destroy White Guilt! Embrace your Ancestry or be doomed to extinction. www.american v i k i n g s . u s
How is doing exactly what you want and making the type of music you want to make and fukk everyone else, "selling out"? I don't get that, because that's what they're doing. It's actually the opposite of selling out. They would have lost every ounce of their artistic integrity If they had stuck to grinding out the same type of album year after year just so asshats like you wouldn't piss and moan.
New stuff sucks. They sold out worse than Metallicrap.
The Underground Resistance.. . p o w e r metal Darkthrone lol. I like it though
The most rock & metal stations on Pandora Radio!
darkthrone after panzerfaust sucks dick. accept it and move on
\,,/
Check out my stations also.
Check out my stations.
people are stupid as fuckk thinking that Darkthrone Sold out. They dont make hardly any cash and still keep making kick a** music. These dudes love their music and dont do what Corporate Suits tel em to do
CLASSICK AND BRUTAL !! BLACKEST HAILS !!
Darkthrone songs do not feature demanding instrumental part writing you loons.
Only the drummer knows what he is doing. The rest were recruited at a local college, given inverted crosses and had to be taught how to trash a hotel room.
fink-there is nothing more to it.for death-play death-for black play mayhem and keeping playing those two bands until you understand or until your brains fall out of your skull unto your lap...
darkthrone like burzum,ensla v e d and immortal can do no wrong.always pure...
PURE NORWEIGIAN ARYAN BLACK METAL!!!
fink9000
So, what IS the difference between black and death metal? My bro said it was that singers in death metal bands growl like giants and that black metal vocalists screech like banshees. But there has to be more to it than that.
this bio is lackluster.
lstat17
Crucufix, check...whit e pancke makeup and black lipstick.... c h e c k , black leather bar attire....ch e c k , ability to play a few minor key cords at hyper-speed. . . c h e c k , victorian era candlesticks . . . c h e c k , highly skilled drummer...ch e c k , four-pack a day smoking grandmother who just woke up voice...chec k . A odd collection of stuff that even more oddly works wll to make some good music.
@dinosaur you know nothing of metal. Iron maiden is one of the very fathers of modern metal music, right up there with judas priest and black sabbath. heavy metal paved the way for great bands like this, and I bet a lot of these bands would say the same thing.
Also, I am a huge fan of the hard core punk fan and the Black metal mixture thing....thr o w in some surf and that's all my favorite style of music.
Love Dark Throne!!
shoulda stopped after panzerfaust. . . . .
hammers2005
whats wrong with darkthrone!! !
s5253gf
I am really into black metal but for some reason Darkthrone never really struck the right chord in me. I recognise that they are very important to the genre but they just dont quite sit right with me.
have not heard the new stuff !! but the old s**t still bites the heads off any non believers !! true black metal at its most raw forms !
f iron maiden in the b bunch of low class wanna be metal crap.this is real metal
GENIUS-how many bands do you know that have made six masterpieces like this band ? not many-maybe iron maiden...
read "lords of chaos"
not a big black metal fan but their not bad
cemlyle
Look for the documentary "Inner Circle" about the Norwegian black metal scene and the very real violence involving some fans and musicians. I thought some of it was "urban legend", but apparently not.
"So Dark
So Cold"
yea,goathead s - w h e r e is circle the wagons ?
so far they have put out nine masterpieces - h o w many fuckking bands that can do that.everyon e says they change from time time. i dont see it.always black metal,just the way i like it...
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