DARKTHRONE — A Blaze in the Northern Sky

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DARKTHRONE - A Blaze in the Northern Sky cover
4.10 | 37 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1992

Filed under Black Metal


1. Kathaarian Life Code (10:39)
2. In the Shadow of the Horns (7:01)
3. Paragon Belial (5:24)
4. Where Cold Winds Blow (7:26)
5. A Blaze in the Northern Sky (4:57)
6. The Pagan Winter (6:34)

Total Time: 42:03


- Nocturno Culto / Vocals, Guitars
- Zephyrous / Rhythm Guitars
- Fenriz / Drums

Guest/Session Musicians:

- Dag Nilsen / Bass

About this release

Full-length, Peaceville Records, February 26th, 1992

Original CD pressing: 3.000 copies

Recorded at Creative Studios, August 1991, but released in the beginning of 1992.

Reissued and remastered in 2003 as a digipak featuring a video interview clip.

The remastered CD version 2003 was also released in 2007 by Black Metal Attack Records from Brazil for South America.

All the releases of "A Blaze in the Northern Sky" has a note saying "This album is eternally dedicated to the king of death/black metal Euronymous."

The first song on the album, "Kathaarian Life Code", is featured in the last scene of the 2002 film Demonlover.

Re-released in December 2009 on 180g heavyweight vinyl with gatefold sleeve. Features new liner notes written by Nocturno Culto especially for this release. Limited to 1000 copies.

12" LP re-released by Peaceville Records in 2011. This vinyl edition of the album is limited to 2000 numbered copies and is issued on 180gsm heavyweight vinyl in a gatefold sleeve which features new liner notes written by Nocturno Culto especially for this release.

20-year anniversary edition CD released at the end of 2012 by Peaceville Records. Comes in a digibook with liner notes by Fenriz and Nocturno Culto plus rare images. Also comes with an additional disc with the whole album commented by Fenriz and Nocturno Culto and the video-interview from the 2003 edition.

Thanks to UMUR, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
Following an introduction that is eerily crystal clear and recorded during a time when the sun's rays shone down from the heavens above, we encounter a dark sinister muffled cacophonous din that signifies an ensuing journey of three Norwegians by the names Nocturno Culto, Zephyrous and Fenriz accompanied by their soon to be departed friend Dag.

The group takes us on a journey into the darkness of the northern Norwegian forests in the middle of the Pagan winter where their journey is illuminated by a sonic tension that serves as a kind of black metal radar that had to be invented for the previous death metal variety alone no longer served this purpose. An unholy union of the two took place.

On a course of approximately 42 minutes, the group continues their thunderous ride throughout the darkened lands where the threats of the shadowed horns of masterless demons thwart their progress to the promised lands. During the most desperate hours a sudden blaze in the northern sky serves as a guide to the direction in which the band would continue to unlock the Unholy Trinity.

Once unlocked the Trinity would serve as a template for other less adventurous souls to embark on a similar journey that DARKTHRONE had already set forth and with the remains of which would continue to reverberate into the present day. Part one of the trilogy is a masterpiece of epic proportions that has been laid upon us.
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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