Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers gives us a holiday treat as he counts down 25 days till Christmas with 25 of his favorite must own metal and hard rock albums. Join us daily through December 25th to read the latest entry.
When black metal legends Darkthrone released their album A Blaze in the Northern Sky on February 26, 1992 the sound of the album was definitely a change in direction from their debut album A Soulside Journey which was released the previous year on Peaceville records. The record label was hesitant to release this new album at first due to the change in style and the way the recording sounded overall. The band, which consisted of Vocalist Nocturno Culto, guitarist Zephyrous, and drummer Fenriz, insisted this was the way a black metal record was supposed to sound and look.
The album cover was black and white whereas most death and thrash metal albums of the time had bright vibrant colors. The cover features a lone photo of guitarist Zephyrous in the white and black corpse paint black metal is known for.
Since Peaceville Records was hesitant to release the album Darkthrone threatened to leave the label and have the album released on Deathlike Silence Productions which was the label owned by Euronymous , guitarist for the band Mayhem and a friend of the men in Darkthrone. Peaceville could not have one of their new up and coming artists just up leave the label so they decided they would in fact release A Blaze In the Northern Sky. At this point in time today, I’m sure the label has no regrets about releasing it as it is a cult classic and a highly influential album in the world of black metal.
A Blaze in the Northern Sky was the first full length album released in this new style of Norwegian Black Metal. The album gives us six great, classic black metal songs which still feature a lot of the death metal influence from the band’s previous sound. The guitar parts are all played in the now defined black metal style of guitar with its extremely fast, heavily distorted, buzzsaw sound. The drums give all the blast beats a guy could want. Nocturno Culto gives and excellent vocal performance, and I think he is one of the best extreme metal vocalists in the business.
There really isn’t a bad song in this album. It’s great to listen to from start to finish. I will recommend the two opening tracks as must listens. The 10 minute opener, “Kathariaan Life Code” has that eerie, chilling intro then breaks into full blown black metal chaos. “In the Shadow of the Horns” is one of Darkthrone’s most revered songs. It’s simplistic yet powerful. Crank it up on the way to work tomorrow.
Darkthrone are still going strong 25 years after their debut. The band now just consists of Nocturno Culto and Fenriz and has been just the two of them since 1994. The duo released their 16th studio album Arctic Thunder back on October 14th of this year.
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