I am not going to review the newest albums all the time on this blog. Rather, I am going to review albums as I buy them. I mean this record came out in 1994 and I just bought it yesterday. If you don't want to read a review for a 14 year old album...........stop here.
Anyways, I've been recently digging into black metal and finally picked up my first Darkthrone album. These Norwegians have 13 albums out, which for a bm band, is quite an achievement. For whatever reason, this is not a genre that begets long careers, but of course there are exceptions. Darkthrone are legendary and considered one of the godfathers of the style.
One of the things I had always read about Darkthrone was that their production values were terrible. This began because they lacked the resources to record properly, but was continued throughout their albums because it kind of became their moniker. The lo-fi production adds to the grimness of the music and is considered more kvlt. Now, I grew up on bad production values listening to punk and hardcore, and many of my favorite records were recorded on 4 track. I also have listenend to some bm with ridiculously poor production (Striborg, Furze). With that said, I didn't think the production was that terrible. I mean it doesn't sound like Mutt Lange recorded it, but it's not that bad. The vocals are a little up front, but you can hear all the instruments, and the drums aren't terribly muddy.
Do I like the album? Yes, but the answer is not that easy. There are two songs on the album En Vind av Sorg and Hans Siste Vinter which are among two of the finest bm songs I've ever heard. These songs stick to the traditional bm style where the uberfast drums and guitar picking make the whole song sound like its been blurred or smeared, which is sonically what I love the most about bm. The other four proper songs are good, but are in a style that is slowed down and more akin to Celtic Frost and Venom (by which I mean heavier and more riff oriented). And the guitars tend to "chug" instead of "needle". How's that for a great description? As you can tell I have taken lots of music theory. Anyway these songs are cool, but I want more tunes like the first category. The last song doen't count because it's just some dumb chanting and strange music. Ooooo....scary! They like Satan. Fuck that, that shit is for kids who want to scare their parents.
It is my understanding that this album was a bit of a stylistic change for Darkthrone. I've heard that their previous albums Under a Funeral Moon, A Blaze in the Northern Sky, and Transylvanian Hunger are stylistically more like the two songs I dig, and the other four are more of a direction explored on later albums. If true, I am looking forward to snagging these early albums first (I'll check out the newer ones too eventually) and further rockin' out with Mr. Nocturno Culto and Mr. Fenriz. I can't wait to see what else they have in store for my virginal ears.
Hans Siste Vinter: