From their formation back in 1986, to becoming one of Norway’s finest and enigmatic musical exports (with a number of highly revered black metal masterpieces released in the early 90’s helping to solidify their legacy), Darkthrone has continued to evolve and challenge in equal measure, throughout their illustrious recording career spanning over three decades. And now, the ever-productive duo of Nocturno and Fenriz continue their own metallic saga with a new selection of fine, vintage sounding headbanging classics in the making .. Astral Fortress
This new studio opus, due for release on 28 October 2022, is a swift follow-up to 2021’s Eternal Hails opus, as a result of Darkthrone’s consistent and ongoing writing process, which has been in force for some years now.
‘Astral Fortress’ was recorded at Chaka Khan Studios in Oslo, the same location used for the Eternal Hails album, with Ole Øvstedal and Silje Høgevold.
Astral Fortress is available on the following formats and pre-orders are live from 9am UK time on Thursday 8 September
Astral Fortress Tracklist:
1. Caravan Of Broken Ghosts
2. Impeccable Caverns Of Satan
3. Stalagmite Necklace
4. The Sea Beneath The Seas Of The Sea
5. Kevorkian Times
6. Kolbotn, West Of The Vast Forests
7. Eon 2
Darkthrone have released the song “Caravan Of Broken Ghosts” accompanied by a lyric video filmed by Fenriz and created by Matthew Vickerstaff.
With the song, Fenriz says “there is a revisit vibe of ‘Quintessence’ at first, which is a total coincidence as it is Ted’s song and I wrote ‘Q’. The song then explodes into fiercer metal, pounding and catching there as well, with clever riff shifts. And then the classic doom ending. Thank you, Ted”
And curious to know more about the video concept? Let’s hear from Fenriz…
A BLAZE IN THE NORTHERN SKY
30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
“A Blaze In The Northern Sky” Tracklist:
A.1 Kathaarian Life Code [10:39]
A.2 In The Shadow Of The Horns [07:02]
A.3 Paragon Belial [05:20]
B.1 Where Cold Winds Blow [07:26]
B.2 A Blaze In The Northern Sky [04:58]
B.3 The Pagan Winter [06:34]
Darkthrone & Peaceville are marking the 30th anniversary of the iconic “A Blaze In The Northern Sky” with a strictly limited-edition – 666 copies only – special anniversary clear vinyl LP, special handmade sleeves courtesy of Bartek Rogalewicz at Lodge.Black Temple. All 666 numbered copies will be hand-signed by Fenriz and Nocturno Culto. This edition also contains a refresh of the original 1992 audio master.
ONLY 666 limited numbered copies of ‘A Blaze in the Northern Sky’ on exclusive clear vinyl only available through the Peaceville Stores
For the anniversary “A Blaze In The Northern Sky” will also be available on white vinyl LP, black vinyl LP and CD – all with the original cover art and using a refresh of the original 1992 audio master. An anniversary T-shirt with 1992 design will also be available.
’A Blaze In The Northern Sky’, Darkthrone’s official second album, was originally released in 1992 and was without question the blueprint for the Black Metal scene, spearheading the evolution of the early second wave movement in Norway & beyond. It was hailed on release as an album of true scene-shifting greatness, following their more death metal focussed debut, ’Soulside Journey’.
The rawness apparent on the album (recorded at Creative Studios, the same location as Mayhem’s legendary Deathcrush was put to tape), was unusual for the time and an antithesis to the usual metal production values & standards during the period. With this, Darkthrone’s statement of attitude & intent was clear, and their status as masters of Norwegian black metal was set.
Since forming in 1986 as Black Death in Kolboton, Norway, Darkthrone have been masters of their art. Dropping the death metal of 1991’s Soulside Journey debut album in favour of a more primitive, black metal sound on the following year’s A Blaze In The Northern Sky, they helped define black metal in the ‘90s through albums like 1993’s Under A Funeral Moon and its follow-up Transilvanian Hunger. Truly, though, Darkthrone remain unique, even in their own canon.
On Eternal Hails, the longer, doomier songs reflect drummer Fenriz’s love of doom, taking their time to make their point. For Fenriz, what he and co-conspirator Nocturno Culto have concocted stretches back even further than discovering black metal, to the sounds of the ‘70s and the more freewheeling sounds of bands playing with more expansive themes. This didn’t just make the songs longer, it made them an entirely different beast from the ground up. “When I was a kid growing up with metal I kept looking for bands with long songs. Black Sabbath had many, and Celtic Frost’s ‘Dawn Of Meggido’ had a long song, so I put that on in the record store and discovered another dimension of metal. Candlemass’ ‘Epicus Doomicus Metallicus’ had only long songs, so I think I bought that without even listening, and it was one of my best buys ever – an eternal inspiration for my entire career..”
“For us it has become a bit logical, hard to explain, but you get to build up for a different kind of listening,” says Nocturno Culto. “A three-minute song is nothing we think of at the moment. We like it this way. For now.”
Even a change of studio hasn’t really changed anything in Darkthrone’s DNA. Having recorded all albums since 2004 using their own Necrohell II studio – a portable 8-track recorder housed in an old bomb shelter, itself a replacement for the original Necrohell 4-track used for Transilvanian Hunger and Panzerfaust, until it became “too necro” and broke – for Eternal Hails the band went to Chaka Khan Studio in Oslo for the first time.
In a world changing too fast for anything to stick, Darkthrone are both able to stay fresh, but also reassuringly reliable. And no matter where they record, what they do or what gear the use to do it – Fenriz actually ended up using a drum kit belonging to Carmine Appice when he was in Rod Stewart’s band this time around – this, it seems, will never and can never change.
As Fenriz himself puts it, “No matter what happens we will still sound like us, it seems!”
THE FENRIZ METAL PACT RADIO SHOW
The first episode we put together is available to stream for free NOW with all subsequent episodes being exclusive for patrons only. We’re sticking to a bi-weekly release schedule here for several reasons and its unlikely shows will ever drop more frequently than that. Typical Patreon bonus stuff like video is definitely never gonna happen. However, depending on the level of interest in the show going forward, we may introduce tier bonuses later. Already kicking around some ideas. Stay tuned.
A message from Fenriz: “So, after 3 years of radio (fenriz) silence I am back, I had listeners in more than 50 countries back then on soundcloud and it was a one way communicative channel (get it?) only this time my show is a tad more interactive and I have a sidekick that will monitor questions one can ask me that I will answer on the show and the songs will be played on the show directly and I will talk a lot more than I did on my soundcloud shows. It IS behind a paywall so for the sake of Testament those of you who are interested in FENRIZ METAL PACT will need to get OVER THE WALL and join in the pact. The styles I will play are typically more underground stuff, old demo tracks and songs and bands I genuinely dig the hell out of and should cater to metal maniacs from ALL countries. I have stuff to do and a life to lead so there will only be two episodes a month and with this you can all get to know me and my taste in metal a bit better. I cannot offer you THE truth but I can offer you MY truth”.
Shadows of Iconoclasm
The special cover artwork for this set is inspired by the early works of the band & comes courtesy of notable artist Zbigniew Bielak.
This box set has been compiled and curated with the band and features content from their personal archives – Fenriz comments “We only had a few months to write what would become ‘A Blaze in the Northern Sky’ and we had to blacken up a whole song from the ‘Goatlord’ session, and here and there on ‘A Blaze…’ you can hear a few riffs from ‘Goatlord’. Ironically I ended up listening way more to the ‘Goatlord’ album than I ever did with ‘A Blaze in the Northern Sky’. Maybe because ‘Goatlord’ feels super-real to me and I want to thank Patrick Engel for cleaning up the rehearsal sound without manipulating it much.”
He continues “The real sensation in this box is the live performance from Bootleg Stage Oslo 1990, soundboard sound with live performances of several of the tracks from our Goatlord album, I was so stoked when I discovered this (and no, I never had this on video myself so it was the first time I heard the audio now after over 30 years and it made me very happy. It was a non-alcoholic stage but we were pretty wasted too!)”
SHADOWS OF ICONOCLASM is OUT NOW.
‘Shadows Of Iconoclasm’ contains:
• 6 LPs plus 7” featuring:
– A newly remastered 30th anniversary edition of 1991’s Soulside Journey
– The original Goatlord instrumental rehearsal/album – specially transferred & restored from Fenriz’ original tape
– Live in Esbjerg, Denmark 1990 – first time on vinyl
– Live in Oslo November 1990 –a new digital transfer from the original master tapes from the Bootleg TV archive. Previously unreleased.
– Live in Riihimaki & Lahti, Finland. Darkthrone’s 1991 – first time on vinyl format
– Tracks from Oslo 1989 Bootleg TV appearance on 7” vinyl, including the Celtic Frost cover, ‘Visual Aggression’
• The 4 cult Darkthrone demos presented on cassette tape with their original art & layout
• DVD featuring a new digital transfer of Darkthrone’s November 1990 Oslo appearance from original master tapes, as well as their Finnish tour date appearances
• plus bonus footage from Oslo 1989 & a previously unseen track from their September 1990 Oslo gig
• 60 page book with a large collection of band photos, plus text covering the early years of the band as featured in the ‘Black Death & Beyond’ book, including additional text for this release, plus bonus chapters compiled from rare Darkthrone titles
• Band promotional photo print replica
• Soulside Journey art print
• Posters of the original Darkthrone logo image drawing & gig poster promoting their Oslo live appearance from September 1990