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Darkthrone is a Black Metal band from Norway. They formed in the mid-late 80s as a Death Metal band named Black Death. The original lineup consisted of Gylve Nagell, Ivar Enger, and Anders Risberget (who left the band early on). Ted Skjellum and Dag Nilsen soon joined the band and they changed their name to Darkthrone. After recording and releasing four demos independently, Darkthrone signed to Peaceville Records and recorded their debut album, Soulside Journey. This was followed by the instrumental demo tape Goatlord, however the band decided to shelve this album rather than make it into an album proper as they became interested in Black Metal and changed their musical style accordingly. While recording their next album, A Blaze in the Northern Sky, the band members adopted pseudonyms - Nagell became "Fenriz", Skjellum became "Nocturno Culto", Enger became "Zephyrous", while Nilsen left after the album was finished. Darkthrone's third album Under a Funeral Moon, saw the band shed all remaining Death Metal elements. Zephyrous left after the recording of Funeral, and the band has remained a two-piece ever since. Their fourth album, Transilvanian Hunger, had much rawer production than previous releases and was controversial for containing some lyrics and backwards spoken messages from the infamous Varg Vikernes and for the message "Norsk Arisk Black Metal" ("Norwegian Aryan Black Metal") on the album booklet.

Their contract with Peaceville complete, Darkthrone signed to Moonfog Productions (run by Satyr of fellow Black Metal band Satyricon) and released a string of somewhat lower-profile albums (including a version of the Goatlord demo with newly-recorded vocals) before returning to Peaceville again in 2005. The band's subsequent releases have incorporated influences from Punk Rock and traditional Heavy Metal, with these influences becoming increasingly prominent on more recent albums.

For most of the band's run, Fenriz has been the drummer and lyricist, while Nocturno Culto sang and played most guitar parts. This dynamic has shifted on newer albums, with both members sharing vocal and lyric duties roughly equally (the Total Death album is notable for having no lyrics by Fenriz at all, instead half the songs have lyrics by Nocturno and the other half have lyrics by various other Black Metal musicians).

Releases:

  • A New Dimension (Demo, 1988)
  • Land of Frost (Demo, 1988)
  • Cromlech (Demo, 1989)
  • Thulcandra (Demo, 1989)
  • Soulside Journey (Full-length, 1991)
  • A Blaze in the Northern Sky (Full-length, 1992)
  • Under a Funeral Moon (Full-length, 1993)
  • Transilvanian Hunger (Full-length, 1994)
  • Panzerfaust (Full-length, 1995) - first release on Moonfog
  • Total Death (Full-length, 1996)
  • Goatlord (Full-length, 1996) - instrumental parts are demos recorded between Soulside and Blaze, vocals are newly-recorded
  • Ravishing Grimness (Full-length, 1999)
  • Preparing for War (Compilation, 2001) - re-released in 2005 with an additional CD of rare demos and a DVD of interviews and rare live performances, to commemorate the band's return to Peaceville
  • Plaguewielder (Full-length, 2001)
  • Hate Them (Full-length, 2003)
  • Sardonic Wrath (Full-length, 2004) - last release on Moonfog
  • Under Beskyttelse av Morke (EP, 2005) - vinyl EP released only in Japan
  • Too Old, Too Cold (EP, 2006)
  • The Cult is Alive (Full-length, 2006)
  • Forebyggende Krig (Single, 2006) - vinyl only
  • NWOBHM (EP, 2007) - title stands for "New Wave of Black Heavy Metal", a play on New Wave of British Heavy Metal
  • F.O.A.D. (Full-length, 2007) - title stands for "Fuck Off and Die"
  • Frostland Tapes (Compilation, 2008) - first two discs contain all four early demos plus a live show, third disc is the original instrumental version of Goatlord including two tracks not on the 1996 release
  • Dark Thrones and Black Flags (Full-length, 2008)
  • Circle the Wagons (Full-length, 2010)

Associated tropes:

  • Bilingual Bonus: A fair number of Darkthrone songs are in Norwegian.
  • Black Metal
  • Call Back: The Sardonic Wrath album takes its title from a line in the song "Earth's Last Picture" from Total Death.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Their first album is a technical death metal album with clean production.
  • Epic Rocking: At least one song on most albums.
  • Executive Meddling: Probably a good example in the long run: Darkthrone wanted to include a message on the Transilvanian Hunger album which said "We would like to state that Transilvanian Hunger stands beyond any criticism. If any man should attempt to criticize this LP, he should be thoroughly patronized for his obviously Jewish behavior." Peaceville fortunately said no to this, although the album did include the "Norsk Arisk Black Metal" phrase as mentioned above; however this was removed in later pressings in favor of the less offensive "True Norwegian Black Metal".
  • Metal Scream
  • New Sound Album: A Blaze in the Northern Sky (from Death Metal to Black Metal), The Cult is Alive (Black Metal to Black Metal/Punk Rock).
  • Shout-Out: "Canadian Metal" references several very obscure Canadian metal bands.
  • What Could Have Been: According to the liner notes on the special edition of Circle the Wagons, the band's current sound is what Darkthrone might have sounded like all along had Fenriz and Nocturno had the resources and record collections in 1988 that they do today.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Political?: After the Transilvanian Hunger controversy led to accusations of Nazism, the band's Panzerfaust album included the statement "Darkthrone is certainly not a Nazi band nor a political band, those of you who still might think so, you can lick Mother Mary's asshole in eternity." So yeah.
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