DARKTHRONE — A Blaze in the Northern Sky (review)

DARKTHRONE — A Blaze in the Northern Sky album cover Album · 1992 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Few metal bands have ever so totally and drastically switched genre as Darkthrone did between their debut album and A Blaze In the Northern Sky. This first black metal album from the band is a true classic; more or less every kvlter than kvlt black metal band following it would go out of its way to recapture its aesthetic.

The band slip in an ornately produced opening instrumental before Kathaarian Life Code bursts forth in all its ugly, slow, doomy glory, which I think is a statement of aesthetic intent: it's a brief demonstration that the band can produce nicely-produced music if they wanted to, so the lo-fi nature of most of the album was not down to incompetence but a deliberate decision on their part. With the guitar lines melting together to form a sheer wall of noise of the sort Mayhem had previously mastered, Darkthrone brought to the equation the technical mastery of the talented death metal band they had previously been; they've previously described the album's secret as being playing death metal riffs in a black metal style.

This technical competence in terms of production and performance, combined with ambitious extended song structures (as opposed to the brief blasts of misanthropy favoured by the likes of Mayhem) saw the band drastically and permanently expand the boundaries of what a second wave black metal group could accomplish musically. The album as a whole is a classic of the genre, and an excellent starting point for any exploration of the subculture, particularly since the vestigal remnants of death metal can provide a few touchstones to help unpack exactly what it is the band are trying to achieve here. A triumph.
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Wilytank wrote:
more than 2 years ago
And each beast of the land took it's own way in living. The seven forbidden things were eternally desecrated...
J-Man wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I agree. This is a great album!

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