HistoryFormed as an underground death metal band, Darkthrone released a Swedish-sounding death metal album before abruptly changing sounds, adopting corpse paint and Satanic hymns and becoming 'true' black metal. Since the aforementioned debut the band has essentially been Nagell and Skejellum.
The band was initially formed in 1987 and released several rehearsals and two demos, which were named Thulcandra and Cromlech. However, the act existed as Black Death between 1986 and 1987. This band featured Gylve “Death” Nagell (later called Fenriz), guitarist Anders Risbergt and bassist Ivar Enger (later called Zephyrous). Black Death issued the Thrash Core ’87 and Black Is Beautiful demos of 1987. The Darkthrone debut was recorded at Sunlight Studio in Sweden where the members stayed at the home of their friends in Entombed. When a couple of years later the relationship turned sour and the bands exchanged barbs, Nicke of Entombed claimed that Fenriz and gang really listen to Faster Pussycat and such. Furthermore the band's early interviews featured Fenriz wishing for world peace and other not so 'blackened' proclamations.
Similarly, during the Soulside era the band told the press that they will release three albums and disband. The band adopted a Celtic Frost sound in the mid-'90s, but has remained true to its primitive black sound since then. Transylvanian Hunger - which featured lyrics by Varg/Christian of Burzum - had an Aryan message (the sound of the album is called Norwegian Aryan Black Metal by the band and has the band criticize anyone who doesn't like them for "obvious Jewish behaviour", etc.) and lead to some headache for the band - especially with Peaceville and its distributors. It is also during this era that the band rode the wave of arrests and murder as members of the Black Metal Mafia/Inner Circle, etc. Despite the band's public denials, the next album, and first for Moonfog, is called Panzerfaust. This album was reportedly recorded on four-tracks to obtain the rawest sound possible. It is at the end of this period that Zephyrous supposedly disappeared.
Darkthrone played a rare show in Oslo in 1996 announcing it as its last. The band avoided interviews for the next couple of years and even went as far as requesting that Moonfog minimize its promotion. Fenriz, Satyr of Satyricon, Maniac of mayhem, Killjoy of Necrophagia and Phil Anselmo of Pantera founded Eibon in 1999. The band was heard on a Moonfog compilation before falling apart. Late ‘90s saw a return of sorts for Darkthrone, though, with more promotions and re-signing with Moonfog in 2001.
The band's music appeared on the risqué movie Demon Lover in 2002. The movie was even showcased at the Cannes Film Festival. The director had used a segment from the song Kathaarian Life Code. The band's 2003 album showcased a band at odds with its environment as any. Hate Them was directed at the commercial acts within the black metal scene. The band recorded and mixed Hate Them in 26 hours in December of 2002 at Pan Lydstudio.
Nocturno Culto joined Satyricon on stage performing Darkthrone songs in order celebrate the tenth anniversary of Moonfog Records in October of 2003 in Oslo. The event was DJed by Fenriz.
Nocturno Culto and Fenriz founded Tyrant Syndicate Records in collaboration with Peaceville Productions in 2004. The label's first release was Aura Noir's The Merciless. The band's next album, Sardonic Wrath, was again full of raw black metal and dedicated to the memory of Quorthon of Bathory.
In early 2006, Peaceville celebrated the return of Darkthrone by issuing a special box set edition of Preparing For War - an anthology of early live and rare material. It was originally issued in 2000. The package came with a DVD as well. This set comes in a clam-box including a poster and booklet containing an exclusive, in-depth interview by James Hinchliffe. The band’s new album, The Cult Is Alive, was issued through Peaceville in March, 2006. Hot on the heels of The Cult Is Alive album the band announced Fuck Off And Die as the title for its next and thirteenth album. Nocturno Culto worked on and released The Misanthrope in 2007, which was a film about black metal and life in Norway. It featured some of his own solo music. The group released a three-CD set entitled Frostland Tapes in June of 2008 through Peaceville Records. The package featured early material, a 1990 live gig recorded in Denmark and old rehearsals and demos. Peaceville Records announced October 20th of 2008 as the release date for the next album, entitled Dark Thrones & Black Flags. Ted was part of the line-up of Sarke in 2009. Darkthrone would release a new album, Circle The Wagons, on April 5th, 2010 through Peaceville Records. The album was supposed to be more “rock and roll” and featured songs like Running For Borders, I Am The Graves Of The 80s and Stylized Corpse. It was a punkier style. Due on February 20th, 2012 through Peaceville Records, Sempiternal Past was a compilation of all four of Darkthrone's demos recorded between 1988 and 1989. These were Land Of Frost, A New Dimension, Thulcandra and Cromlech. All demos had been remastered. Darkthrone would release a new album, called Arctic Thunder, on October 14th 2016 through Peaceville. Gylve Nagell, better known as Fenriz, was elected to his local council in 2016 on a four-year term as a member of the socially liberal Venstre party. His campaign was a picture of him holding his cat saying, “Please don’t vote for me” as he had been invited to participate and had not actually ran a campaign. Darkthrone released a new album, entitled Old Star, through Peaceville on May 31 2019. Darkthrone released a new album, called Eternal Hails……, through Peaceville in June 2021.
Gift Of Gods was the name of a new heavy metal project by Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto. The man’s Receive album was due in December of 2013 through Peaceville. The Darkthrone logo was drawn by Tomas Lindberg of At The Gates. Fenriz has been a member of black metal-turned-doom band Valhall since 1987, but does not play gigs with the rest of the boys.
DARKTHRONE - HATE THEM - MOONFOG
The band states that Hate Them was recorded and mixed in 26 hours. One could legitimately wonder why it would have taken so long. After all, the primitive sound, nonexistent mix and raw delivery is the prevalent and the overriding factor of the album. Even the album's title and simplistic lyrics point at Darkthrone's attempt at evening the balance which has swung sharply to commercialism, posing and slickness by bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth.
Darkthrone has carved a career out of being true to the black metal ideal. The band that regularly records on a four-track machine, spews evil and mocks the commercialism of the competition has done it again. Hate Them is about keeping the flame alive - 2003 be damned. - Ali "The Metallian"
DARKTHRONE - SARDONIC WRATH - MOONFOG
Another year and another Darkthrone album featuring a black and white cover some might say and they would be accurate. The music has not changed much either. Is that a band thing? No, it is not a negative attribute for a band to stay true to its essence (debut notwithstanding) and sound for that signifies the act's sincerity to itself and its fans. It is called respect.
Darkthrone shows its respect to its fans and the metal community by issuing another raw, simple, distorted and dangerous album of true black metal with songs like Sjakk Matt Jesu Krist, Straightening Sharks In Heaven and Alle Gegen Alle. The use of multiple languages aside, the sound is fairly unfluctuating and the atmosphere as grim as ever. The Celtic Frost influences can still be heard while the duo gives the bass guitar a more prominent role within the tracks. The whirlwind of repulsive melodies also gives the disc an almost hypnotic upshot a couple of songs into the album. Kudos to Darkthrone for not giving a fuck. - Ali "The Metallian"