Bands

Darkthrone

‘Black Death and Beyond’ is a special collector’s box-set featuring an in-depth book containing extensive accounts of the band’s history & philosophy from both Gylve ‘Fenris’ Nagell & Ted ‘Nocturno Culto’ Skjellum, plus 3 vinyls with the band's own selctions of choice cuts from their illustrious catalogue. Also with signed certificate for pre-orders, plus Darkthrone patch.

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Darkthrone
Black Death and Beyond

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Biography

THE EARLY YEARS, AS WRITTEN BY FENRIZ:
"Since i rounded up people to play with in December 1986, there were many problems, the musical direction of people involved (that means, we really COULDN’T play, so any direction was a future hope HA HA HA), money for equipment, different level of involvement (i would ofcourse be a diehard dictator, tormenting the others and they’d taunt me back) and last but not least – too short hair.

In 1987 i struggled ahead with the band while ordering demos and tape trading my ass off, after the summer holidays that year i moved away from Tårnåsen, Kolbotn – to Vinterbro, where i was kinda secluded from the others because of necro public transportation possibilities. I delved furthermore into the magic abyss of 80s metal underground, and i had no other way than ditching members from my band, getting new ones and taking the name DARKTHRONE. We worked onwards and the first result was “Land Of Frost”. Finished in February 1988, i reckon, recorded at our second rehearsalplace in the cellar of the legendary Nagell residence. 

I wrote new songs, i wanted more. Ivar ZEPHYROUS wanted more. I don’t even remember when or how i met DAG NILSEN but i think he was in the band since late 87 (i hope). And he wanted more. So when i got a call from my old pal Kjetil Aarhus from Tårnåsen saying that he had another guitarist for us, i said he could come see us on our first live appearance, FOLLOROCKEN 1988 in SKI KINO. Haha. I played drums and tried to do vocals at the same time. I must have been HELLBENT FOR METAL, because that is something i NEVER tried later. It couldn’t have been a majestic sight, but Ted joined DARKTHRONE anyway, spring of 1988!

Summer went by – rehearsing. a new reh place in Oslo was suggested by Ted, and we moved out of the cellar of spider-galore. We were thrown out of the church in Oslo after one rehearsal – because NEIGHBOURS complained, HAHA!

First recording with Ted was the SNOWFALL tape (Autumn 1988), just an advance tape showing our progress, so to speak. But this is my preferred track of all our tapes, i think. It is such a SNAPSHOT of our influences at the time, a result of a childhood and youth full of metal.

Early 1989 we had material to drag Ole Ringen with his portable studio down to the bomb shelter and record the THULCANDRA demo. We meant business and thrashed away. Perfect demo sound, in the sense that it doesn’t sound like ANY OTHER recording out there, which is the magic of the demo scene in those 80s anyway. We started playing live too, one kind of HAD TO. To my dismay. And worked frenetically on new song material at the same time, we were in the ZONE, and i had also decided that Ted should do the vocals from now on.

The CROMLECH demo (late 1989) was a live tape from one of those gigs, which was also taped and sent on a tv show called BOOTLEG, which reached many people in Norway at the time. But it was PEACEVILLE RECORDS in England that we signed a deal with. Norway had N O T H I N G to offer metal bands in those days. I was very excited with sugar on top that i had the reached the only goal of my life – securing a record deal. So i announced to DARKTHRONE that we no longer needed to haul equipment in the bomb shelter – from now on we rehearsed in my living room".

1991 saw the release of Darkthrone s debut album - Soulside Journey, recorded at Sunlight Studios, Sweden. 
Since 1987 Darkthrone had been in touch with Norwegian band Mayhem, and band leader Euronymous, who was a main figure in the growing black metal scene. He apparently impressed the members of Darkthrone so much that they changed their sound, agreeing with Euronymous that the death metal scene had become too trendy. Sadly Dag Nilsen wasn't into this new direction and left the band shortly after recording the bass for their second album, A Blaze In The Northern Sky. The remaining three members changed their names to Fenriz, Nocturno Culto and Zephyrous and with this, the second album was released. The album saw a whole new blacker than black Darkthrone, new names, new sound and highly visual black and white artwork. Fenriz claimed - This is the new Darkthrone, the old Darkthrone is dead. A Blaze In The Northern Sky was an example of what was to come in terms of modern black metal. In other words, this was the trendsetter.

For the next year or two the black metal scene in Norway grew, and with it plenty of controversy. In 1993 Darkthrone emerged again with a new album Under a Funeral Moon which was labelled by the band as True Norwegian Black Metal, apparently because there was not a single death metal riff to be found in the music. The album was recorded with low sound quality and continued the already infamous black and white artwork theme (the band would never use colour again!). The album was simply another black metal masterpiece, which stunned the metal scene.

In 1994 the world was introduced to one of Fenriz' side projects, Isengard. In this guise he released the album Vinterskugge on Deaf Records, a subsidiary of Peaceville, but was later housed on the actual Peaceville label. The CD only release was made up of three demos Spectres Over Gorgoroth, originally released in 1989, Horizons, originally released in 1991 and Vandreren, originally released in 1993. This side project was a mix of doom/rock/black/death/folk music.

In 1994 Transylvanian Hunger was released and had the last 4 of the 8 songs written by Burzum main man Varg Vikerness, who later achieved infamy when he was tried and found guilty of murdering Euronymous. Stranger still, Euronymous introduced Darkthrone to Varg. This release had the lowest sound quality heard to date and was the most harsh thing any one had ever heard. Controversially at the end of the song As Flittermice As Satans Spys the phrase "In the name of God, let the churches burn" is played backwards. The CD also had a phrase on the back - "Norsk Arisk Black Metal" which the band claims meant True Norwegian black metal, this phrase caused a lot of heat as many people interpreted the word Arisk as Aryan, resulting in the following statement from Fenriz.

We wish to state that Transylvanian Hunger is beyond criticism, and any man who attempts to do so should be thoroughly patronised for his obviously jewish behaviour.

This obviously made matters even worse, Peaceville were not amused, resulting in band and label issuing separate public apologies. The band tried to explain that in Norwegian the word jewish simply meant idiot and was in no way meant as a racial insult. Peaceville found the explanation utterly unconvincing, and after the albums release band and label parted ways. It was after this that Darkthrone started to write their music in Norwegian and said they would only work with fellow Norwegians. This they did and joined the Norwegian underground label, Moonfog.

In 1995 the album Panzerfaust was released on Moonfog, as before heavily influenced by Celtic Frost, Hellhammer etc. One of the songs had lyrics by Varg again.

In 1996, Darkthrone released the album Total Death which had no lyrics written by Fenriz at all, instead lyrics were provided by the likes of Ihsahn (Emperor) and Satyr etc. in other words other big names in the Norsk black metal scene. The music sounded like the first two black metal albums Darkthrone had released thus proving popular with the fans. In the same year Fenriz popped up briefly to play bass for Dødheimsgards debut, with Nocturno Culto doing guitar duties on the Satyricon album Nemesis Divina, under the guise of Kveldulv. He also played live with the band something Darkthrone very rarely did!

Later on in 1996 Goatlord was released, via Moonfog. This was originally recorded in 1991 during the transition Darkthrone made from death metal, to the black metal sound. Most of the lyrics on this album were taken from the Under A Funeral Moon release, and saw Fenriz singing in a strange voice who some believed to be female. The release featured Satyr on guest vocals.

In 1997 Nocturno Culto left the black metal scene, which meant that Fenriz was the only person left in the band. and a dark veil fell over Fenriz as he disappeared into the night...

It was decided a tribute to Darkthrone would be released in 1998, entitled Darkthrone Holy Darkthrone. Nocturno Culto and Satyr chose the 8 Norwegian bands to appear on the tribute, apparently from a list of bands that have been heavily influenced by Darkthrone. The bands then in turn chose a song each and went away to make their own unholy versions.

In mid 1999 word arose that Darkthrone were back, and the scene rejoiced. Confused, not knowing what to expect, they were hungry for more, and in October 1999 Ravishing Grimness was finally unleashed to the hordes, and did not fail to please. With the album being compared to Transylvanian Hunger and A Blaze in the Northern Sky, Darkthrone was clearly back and proved they are a force that should NEVER be under estimated.

Although Darkthrones recent releases had been through Moonfog, the band never lost contact with their original label Peaceville. In 2000 this resulted in both band and label working closely together again on a Darkthrone retrospective from the Peaceville years, entitled Preparing For War. The album contained a collection of classic Darkthrone tracks: some rare, some new, some old. Also with new artwork, lo-fi black and white as of old. A kind of thank you to fans, from both parties for the continuous support.

2001, and Darkthrone returned with their next studio album, in the shape of Plaguewielder: Six tracks of ever uncompromising black metal. Additional vocals on the track Command was provided by Apollyon of Aura Noir and Sverre from Audiopain. The album was recorded at Studio Studios (also used to record Ravishing Grimness) and was engineered by Dag Stokke,

It was 2003 by the time Darkthrones next album surfaced with the bluntly titled Hate Them. The electronic introduction and ending were created by Lrz from Red Harvest, who also handled engineering duties on the album at Pan Lydstudio. The entire album was recorded AND mixed in only 26 hours, in December 2002.

At around this time, Fenriz was in contact with Peaceville about the prospect of releasing a compilation of inspirational tracks, which helped shape his passion for metal music. He had wanted to do such a project since 1994, originally with the prospect of an old thrash metal compilation. However, it was decided that it would be appropriate for the first of the series to be Fenriz' definition of The Best of Old-School Black Metal, featuring the essential tracks that shaped the genre by bands such as Venom, Bathory and Celtic Frost, as well as a couple of newer bands such as Nattefrost and Aura Noir. The CD was released in September 2004 and was dedicated to Bathorys Quorthon, who died shortly before the release of the compilation.

2004 was to be a busy year for both members of Darkthrone, as we saw the birth of their new label, in conjunction with Peaceville Records, called Tyrant Syndicate Productions. The first release was to be by the Norwegian band, and friends of Darkthrone, Aura Noir, with their own brand of blackened thrash metal. This came in October 2004 in the form of the album The Merciless.

This was also the year of Darkthrones first live appearance in 8 years, as Nocturno Culto joined forces with members of Satyricon to headline the Wacken festival in Germany. Fenriz chose not to participate in the show.

2004 also saw the release of Darkthrones eleventh album, and final one for Moonfog, Sardonic Wrath. This time, the band was integrating a few more obvious punk and rock influences into some riffs, mixed with the ever-present, raw, black metal feeling. The album was once again recorded and mixed by Lars Klokkerhaug, who had previously worked on Hate Them. The session was completed in 5 days. Guest vocals came courtesy of Apollyon from Aura Noir, on the track Hate Is The Law. The cover artwork was designed by the Italian artist Lorenzo Mariani.

In 2005 Darkthrone waved a spectral goodbye to Moonfog & re-joined forces with their original label Peaceville Records. The move made perfect sense as the unholy alliance was already working well together on the Tyrant Syndicate label.

To kick off 2006, January saw Darkthrone launch a three pronged attack on an unsuspecting world. First they released their first ever single Too Old, Too Cold, containing three exclusive tracks, one of which, a cover of Love In A Void by Siouxsie And The Banshees, has to be heard to be believed. Next up was their highly anticipated twelfth album: The Cult Is Alive. Both releases were recorded with the minimum time and fuss at their own studio, Necrohell 2. Rounding things off nicely, Darkthrone released their first ever promo video for the track Too Old, Too Cold., as you would expect; the video is suitably lo-fi.

2006 saw no let-up in the creativity corner from Darkthrone and work swiftly began (or continued) on the next set of tracks for the 13th album, to be called Fuck Off & Die. Work continued throughout 2006 and the first part of 2007 with the recordings taking place 2 tracks at a time, once more at Necrohell 2, until there were enough songs to release collectively as an album. In the meantime, the cunning yet very perceptively titled NWOBHM - New Wave of Black Heavy Metal EP was released, giving fans a great taster of what was to come on the full length album.

Somewhat a continuation and also a regressive progression from The Cult is Alive, F.O.A.D encapsulated everything great about the spirit of Darkthrone, and the chasm of inspiration & freedom of this "Dirty Soul Metal" (as it has been termed) is completely evident, in what was to be the album to mark the 20th year of existence for Darkthrone. A video was made for the track Canadian Metal, featuring nothing but a black screen and a logo/title...but in the words of Fenriz "Music is for the ears, not the eyes".

As had become common practise for Darkthrone in recent years, the band continued to write & record new songs in stages, following the completion & release of F.O.A.D. in late 2007 - steadily gathering enough new material for their next opus to be titled 'Dark Thrones & Black Flags' which would see the light of day later in 2008.

Never ones to stop writing, the sessions for the follow-up album were completed in the later part of 2009 at Necrohell 2 studios, & 2010 sees the release of new album Circle the Wagons, a fist in the face of the modern overground sounding bands. Ever uncompromising & non-restricted, Darkthrone as always do things their way, with a style & sound further exploring the roots of rock, metal & punk. The release, in March 2010, was also unique in that the vinyl edition of the album was made available several weeks before the CD editions, & also was to complete a trilogy of albums featuring the fine B&W art style supplied by Dennis Dread (Abscess).

The remainder of 2010, & much of 2011, saw the band take a much deserved break, having being incredibly productive over the preceding few years. In this time Fenriz & Nocturno revisited their old albums, originally released on Moonfog, to record commentary tracks explaining the background & inspirations behind some Darkthrone classics, providing an invaluable insight for fans of the band. At the same time Nocturno & Fenriz continued to construct new material, with a view to releasing a follow-up to ‘Circle the Wagons’, to be titled 'The Underground Resistance', with eventual release of the epic 6 track opus set for February 2013.

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Band Members

  • Nocturno Culto Guitars & Vocals
  • Fenriz Drums & Vocals

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Latest News


28/03/2014

Darkthrone - 'Black Death and Beyond' limited book/vinyl boxset coming May 12th

‘Black Death and Beyond’ is a special collector’s box-set featuring an in-depth book containing extensive accounts of the band’s history & philosophy from both Gylve ‘Fenris’ Nagell &a ...

10/07/2013

Darkthrone - Under A Funeral Moon 2CD edition coming August 26th

Darkthrone's classic 1993 album will be released 26th August as a 2-disc edition of the Black Metal masterpiece, marking 20 years since the release of this landmark album. The second disc features  ...

07/06/2013

Darkthrone - 'Lesser Men' - video premiere now online at Terrorizer

Taken from the  new album ‘The Underground Resistance’, the clip for ‘Lesser Men’, directed by Lowe Seger. The first new album since the 2010 opus ‘Circle The Wagons’ is a continua ...

04/02/2013

Darkthrone - 'The Underground Resistance' minisite now online

Head over to http://www.peaceville.com/darkthrone for all the information on the latest Darkthrone opus, released February 25th, as well as audio, desktop downloads, gallery & more. ...

11/01/2013

Darkthrone - 'The Underground Resistance' pre-orders now online

Pre-orders are now being taken for the latest Darkthrone opus, due 25th February. Each pre-order of the album on CD & vinyl contains a free Darkthrone patch. An exclusive KTU t-shirt design is als ...