The band that would become Darkthrone formed in late 1986 in Kolbotn, a small suburb of Oslo. They were a death metalband by the name of Black Death whose members were Gylve Nagell, Ivar Enger, Lee Hartney, Ben Mote and Anders Risberget. Main inspirations were Venom, Celtic Frost, Slayer and Cryptic Slaughter. In fall 1987, the band changed their name to Darkthrone and were joined by Dag Nilsen. Ted Skjellumjoined in spring of 1988. During 1988 and 1989, the band independently released four demo tapes: Land of Frost, A New Dimension, Thulcandra, and Cromlech.
They were subsequently signed to the independent record label Peaceville Recordswith a four-album contract. In 1990, they recorded their first studio album, Soulside Journey. Because of a small recording budget, the band could not afford the kind of studio they wanted but, thanks to the members of Nihilist and Entombed, they were able to record their album at Sunlight Studios. Although mainly death metal in style, there were some elements of black metal present in terms of artwork and songwriting.
Immediately following the release of this album, the band continued writing and recording new material, recording every new song on tape until it was a full album. These demos were entirely instrumental but they demonstrated the band’s gradual shift towards black metal. In 1997, they would be released on the compilation album Goatlord.
Early black metal years: 1991–1994
During 1991, Darkthrone adopted the aesthetic style that would come to represent the black metal scene, wearing corpse paint and working under pseudonyms. Gylve Nagell became “Fenriz”, Ted Skjellum became “Nocturno Culto” and Ivar Enger became “Zephyrous”. In August 1991, they recorded their second album, which was released at the beginning of 1992 and titled A Blaze in the Northern Sky. The album contained Darkthrone’s first black metal recordings, and Peaceville Records was originally skeptical about releasing it due to Darkthrone’s extreme diversion from their original death metal style. After the album was recorded, bassist Dag Nilsen left the band, and is merely credited as “session bass” with no picture on the album.
The band’s third album, Under a Funeral Moon, was recorded in the summer of 1992 and released in early 1993. It marked Darkthrone’s total conversion to the black metal style, and is considered a landmark for the development of the genre as a whole. This album also marked the last album on which guitarist Zephyrous would perform.
It was followed by their fourth album, Transilvanian Hunger, which was released in February 1994. This was Darkthrone’s first album to have just two members, Nocturno Culto and Fenriz. The band would remain a duo from this point onwards. Transilvanian Hungerwas characterized by a very “raw” or “low fidelity” recording style and musical simplicity. The album’s release caused some controversy: some of its lyrics were written by the infamous Norwegian black metal musician Varg Vikernes, and its booklet contained the phrase “Norsk Arisk Black Metal”, which translates into English as “Norwegian Aryan Black Metal”.
With Moonfog Records: 1995–2004
Darkthrone moved to another independent record label, Moonfog Productions, for subsequent releases. The label was run by Satyr of the black metal band Satyricon.
Their fifth album, Panzerfaust, was released in 1995. The album was received well, although its production, which is similar to that of Transilvanian Hunger, encountered some criticisms. Their sixth album, Total Death, was released during 1996 and is notable for featuring lyrics written by four other black metal musicians, and none at all written by the group’s main lyricist Fenriz.
During the years 1993–1995, drummer Fenriz was involved with numerous side projects. This included his solo ambient project Neptune Towers, recording an album with Satyr as the trio Storm, and playing bass on Dødheimsgard’s debut album. Also he began playing drums for Valhall again, after having been one of the founding members in 1988 but leaving in 1990 to concentrate on Darkthrone.
In 1999, Darkthrone released the album Ravishing Grimness, and in 2001 their following album, Plaguewielder. While Transilvanian Hungerand Panzerfaust had songs written solely by Fenriz, these two albums had songs mostly written by Nocturno Culto and were both recorded in Ronny Le Tekrøe’s studio at Toten, Norway. This explains the somewhat “clearer” sound on those records.
In the last years of the 1990s, two Darkthrone tribute albums were released: Darkthrone Holy Darkthrone in 1998 and The Next Thousand Years Are Ours in 1999. The band also released Preparing for War, a compilation of songs from 1988–1994. In 2002, the intro of their song “Kathaarian Life Code” appeared in the last scene of the film Demonlover.
In 2003, the band released the album Hate Them. Although this record and their next contain electronicintroductions, they remain true to Darkthrone’s early black metal style. Sardonic Wrath was released in 2004. It was the band’s last album with Moonfog Productions and their last to be recorded solely in the black metal style. This album was nominated for Norway’s Alarm Awards; however, the album’s entry was withdrawn at the band’s request. Their next releases would feature strong crust punk traits.
Change in direction: 2005–present
In 2005, Darkthrone confirmed that they had returned to Peaceville Records, after leaving the record label in 1994. They had also started up their own record label, Tyrant Syndicate Productions, to release their future albums. To celebrate their return, Peaceville re-issued the Preparing for Warcompilation with a bonus CD of demos and a DVD of live performances. Darkthrone’s first four albums were also re-released with video interviews about each of them.
Darkthrone released their eleventh album, The Cult Is Alive, during early 2006. The album represented a shift in the band’s style as the music incorporated crust punk traits. While Darkthrone’s black metal roots were still evident, their shift from the genre’s typical sound was more noticeable. The Cult Is Alive was the first Darkthrone album to appear on the album chart in Norway, debuting at number 22.
In July 2007, the band released the EP NWOBHM (an acronym for ‘New wave of black heavy metal’, a take-off on the original ‘New wave of British heavy metal’) as a preview for their next album. In September that year, Darkthrone released the album F.O.A.D. (an acronym for Fuck Off and Die). The phrase was used by many thrash metal and punk bands during the 1980s. While the music partially continued the punk-oriented style that was introduced on The Cult Is Alive, this time the band focused more on traditional heavy metal.
Also during 2007, Nocturno Cultocompleted and released The Misanthrope, a film about black metal and life in Norway. It includes some of his own solo recordings. In October 2008, Dark Thrones and Black Flags was released, using much the same style as the previous album. In 2010, the band released the album Circle the Wagons, which again mixed crust punk along with speed metal and traditional heavy metal.
In late 2010, Peaceville acquired the rights to the band’s Moonfog albums and re-issued Panzerfaust as a two-disc set and on vinyl. The re-issue of Total Death was set for March 14, 2011. In July 2012, Darkthrone announced a new album, titled The Underground Resistance; it was released on February 25, 2013. The band released their 16th studio album, titled Arctic Thunder, on October 14, 2016.
On October 22, 2016, the band revealed via Facebook that they would be issuing a compilation album entitled The Wind of 666 Black Hearts. The album, released November 25, 2016, is composed of demos recorded in 1991 and 1992 for songs which later appeared on A Blaze In the Northern Skyand Under a Funeral Moon.
Old Star / 2019
Arctic Thunder / 2016
1. Tundra Leech
2. Burial Bliss
3. Boreal Fiends
4. Inbred Vermin
5. Arctic Thunder
6. Throw Me Through the Marshes
7. Deep Lake Trespass
8. The Wyoming Distance
Arctic Thunder is the sixteenth studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released on 14 October 2016 via Peaceville Records. The album marks a return to the band’s familiar black metal style, in lieu of the crust punk-influenced sound present on many of their more recent albums, though with prominent elements of traditional heavy metal still apparent.
The album is named after a Norwegian thrash/heavy metal band, active from 1985 to 1989. Darkthrone got permission to use the name.
The Underground Resistance / 2013
1. Dead Early
3. Lesser Men
4. The Ones You Left Behind
5. Come Warfare, the Entire Doom
6. Leave No Cross Unturned
The Underground Resistance is the 15th studio album by Norwegian band Darkthrone. It was released on 25 February 2013. On The Underground Resistance, the band largely abandoned the crust punk elements found on their previous four albums.The music on the album has been described as “classic metal” incorporating ’80s speed metal, thrash metal, black metal, doom metal and “a dose of punk”.
Circle the Wagons / 2010
1. Those Treasures Will Never Befall You
2. Running for Borders
3. I Am the Graves of the 80s
4. Stylized Corpse
5. Circle the Wagons
6. Black Mountain Totem
7. I Am the Working Class
8. Eyes Burst at Dawn
9. Bränn inte slottet
Circle the Wagons is the 14th album by the Norwegian band Darkthrone. The album was released on 5 April 2010. Fenriz, the band’s drummer, described the music as Darkthrone’s “own brand of heavy metal/speed metal-punk” and declared it a further shift from their old black metal style. About half of the album was written by Fenriz and half by Nocturno Culto.
Dark Thrones and Black Flags / 2008
1. The Winds They Called the Dungeon Shaker
2. Death of all Oaths (Oath Minus)
3. Hiking Metal Punks
4. Blacksmith of the North (Keep that Ancient Fire)
5. Norway in September
6. Grizzly Trade
7. Hanging Out in Haiger
8. Dark Thrones and Black Flags
9. Launchpad to Nothingness
10. Witch Ghetto
Dark Thrones and Black Flags is the 13th album by the Norwegian band Darkthrone. Released in October 2008, the music largely followed in the style of their previous album, F.O.A.D. Half of the lyrics and music were written by Nocturno Culto, while the other half were written by Fenriz.
F.O.A.D. / 2007
1. These Shores Are Damned
2. Canadian Metal
3. The Church of Real Metal
4. The Banners of Old
5. Fuck Off and Die
6. Splitkein Fever
7. Raised on Rock
8. Pervertor of the 7 Gates
9. Wisdom of the Dead
F.O.A.D. (an initialism for Fuck Off And Die) is the 12th album by the Norwegian band Darkthrone. Released on September 25, 2007, the album continues the sound heard on their previous album, The Cult is Alive and displays a fusion of black metal with elements of punk and traditional heavy metal.
The Cult Is Alive / 2006
1. The Cult of Goliath
2. Too Old, Too Cold
3. Atomic Coming
4. Graveyard Slut
5. Underdogs and Overlords
6. Whisky Funeral
7. De underjordiske (Ælia Capitolina) (“The Subterraneans (Ælia Capitolina)”)
8. Tyster på Gud (“Snitches on God”)
9. Shut Up
10. Forebyggende krig (“Preemptive War”)
The Cult is Alive is the 11th album by the Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. Released in 2006, this album represented a shift in the band’s style, as they incorporated more punk and crust punk traits than before. While the band’s black metal roots were still evident, their shift from the genre’s typical sound was much more noticeable.
Sardonic Wrath / 2004
1. Order of the Ominous
2. Information Wants to Be Syndicated
3. Sjakk matt Jesu Krist (“Checkmate Jesus Christ”)
4. Straightening Sharks in Heaven
5. Alle gegen alle (“All Against All”)
6. Man tenker sitt (“You Have Your Thoughts”)
7. Sacrificing to the God of Doubt
8. Hate Is the Law
9. Rawness Obsolete
Sardonic Wrath is the 10th album by the Norwegian black metal band, Darkthrone. It was released by Moonfog Productions in 2004, and was the band’s last album on that record label. Although punk influences were already apparent, it would be Darkthrone‘s last album recorded solely in the black metal style. Their subsequent albums featured much stronger punk traits.
Hate Them / 2003
2. Det svartner nå (It Darkens Now)
3. Fucked Up and Ready to Die
4. Ytterst i livet (On the Edge of Life)
5. Divided We Stand
6. Striving for a Piece of Lucifer
7. In Honour of Thy Name
Hate Them is the ninth album by Norwegian black metal band, Darkthrone. It was released by Moonfog Productions in 2003. Like their subsequent release, Sardonic Wrath, the album had an electronic intro and outro created by Lars Sørensen (aka LRZ) from Red Harvest. The cover image was the work of Eric Syre from Thesyre, and incorporated images of the Sagrada Família Catholic church in Barcelona. In 2012, the album was reissued by Peaceville Records, including a bonus CD with audio commentary by the band.
Plaguewielder / 2001
1. Weakling Avenger
2. Raining Murder
3. Sin Origin
5. I, Voidhanger
Plaguewielder is the eighth album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released by Moonfog Productions (the label owned by Satyr Wongraven of Satyricon) in 2001.
The album was re-released with new artwork in 2011 by Peaceville Records. The CD reissue included a second disc of commentary from the band members.
Ravishing Grimness / 1999
2. The Beast
3. The Claws of Time
4. Across the Vacuum
5. Ravishing Grimness
6. To the Death (Under the King)
Ravishing Grimness is the seventh studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released by Moonfog Productions in 1999. This album marked a noticeable shift in the band’s musical and lyrical scope. While still retaining much of the band’s older black metal roots, the music itself was more slow-to-mid-paced with less blast beats than on previous albums, and the album’s production was cleaner and clearer; this led to some fan criticism of the band.
Total Death / 1996
1. Earth’s Last Picture
3. Gather for Attack on the Pearly Gates
4. Black Victory of Death
5. Majestic Desolate Eye
8. The Serpents Harvest
9. God of Disturbance and Friction (appears only on 2011 reissue)
Total Death is the sixth album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was recorded in August and October 1995 at Ancient Specter Ruins and released in 1996. All of the album’s lyrics were written either by members of other black metal bands or Nocturno Culto (unlike the band’s usual method on other Darkthrone albums in which Fenriz is the main lyricist).
Panzerfaust / 1995
1. En vind av sorg (“A Wind of Sorrow”)
2. Triumphant Gleam
3. The Hordes of Nebulah
4. Hans siste vinter (“His Last Winter”)
5. Beholding the Throne of Might
7. Snø og granskog (Utferd) (“Snow and Spruce Forest” (Outro)
Panzerfaust is the fifth studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone, released in June 1995 by Moonfog Productions (Europe) and The End Records (North America).
Transilvanian Hunger / 1994
1. Transilvanian Hunger
2. Over fjell og gjennom torner (“Over Mountains and Through Thorns”)
3. Skald av Satans sol (“Bard of Satan’s Sun”)
4. Slottet i det fjerne (“Castle in the Distance”)
5. Graven tåkeheimens saler (“Halls of the Tomb of the Fog Kingdom”)
6. I en hall med flesk og mjød (“In a Hall with Meat and Mead”)
7. As Flittermice as Satans Spys
8. En ås i dype skogen (“A Hill in the Deep Forest”)
Transilvanian Hunger is the fourth studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released in February 1994 by Peaceville. Lyrics for four of the album’s songs were written by the infamous Norwegian black metal musician Varg Vikernes, who performed solo as Burzum.
Under a Funeral Moon / 1993
1. Natassja in Eternal Sleep
2. Summer of the Diabolical Holocaust
3. The Dance of Eternal Shadows
4. Unholy Black Metal
5. To Walk the Infernal Fields
6. Under a Funeral Moon
7. Inn i de dype skogers favn (“Into the Embrace of the Deep Forests”)
8. Crossing the Triangle of Flames
Under a Funeral Moon is the third studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was recorded in June 1992 and released June 24, 1993 by Peaceville Records. Under a Funeral Moon was the last album on which guitarist Zephyrous (Ivar Enger) performed; he left the band shortly after its release.
A Blaze in the Northern Sky / 1992
1. Kathaarian Life Code
2. In the Shadow of the Horns
3. Paragon Belial
4. Where Cold Winds Blow
5. A Blaze in the Northern Sky
6. The Pagan Winter
A Blaze in the Northern Sky is the second studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released on 26 February 1992 by Peaceville Records. It contained the band’s first black metal recordings, and is considered a classic within the genre. It was the last album to feature bassist Dag Nilsen.
Soulside Journey / 1991
2. Sunrise Over Locus Mortis
3. Soulside Journey
4. Accumulation of Generalization
5. Neptune Towers
6. “Sempiternal Sepulchrality
7. Grave with a View
8. Iconoclasm Sweeps Cappadocia
9. Nor the Silent Whispers
10. The Watchtower
Soulside Journey is the first studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released in January 1991 by Peaceville Records. It is notable as the band’s only death metal album, before they became an integral part of the Norwegian black metal scene.
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