THE WIND OF 666 BLACK HEARTS
LET’S take a trip back to when Black Metal was generally a lot blacker, to the early 1990s when the likes of Mayhem and Darkthrone were ploughing their first furrows in the field of a relatively new musical genre.
Mayhem were doing it through groundbreaking albums such as De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and the notoriety stemming from a suicide, a murder, a murderer, alleged church burnings, and a record shop with more than a whiff of Satan about it.
Darkthrone, on the other hand, were moving from the Death Metal of their first album Soulside Journey to darker things with A Blaze In The Northern Sky in a more low key way, and they gave up performing live altogether (and never have since) despite a rich catalogue of releases.
The new offering consists of pre-album recordings from 1991 and 1992 and contains tracks from the aforesaid A Blaze In The Northern Sky and Under A Funeral Moon classics.
Although Darkthrone are today (and indeed have been for a while) a two-piece consisting of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto, this offering includes early members Zephyrous and Dag Nilsen.
The recordings are quite rough and ready in parts, some with barely distinguishable vocals, but Black Metal isn’t particularly about clarity of sound, easily distinguished lyrics and musical posturing (well, at least it wasn’t back then). It’s about the grim feeling of it.
This album may be for real Darkthrone fans only, to be fair, and newcomers would probably get more from the original big three that helped define the ‘Second Wave’ of the genre — A Blaze In The Northern Sky, Under A Funeral Moon, and the astonishing Transilvanian Hunger — than they would get by listening to this.
But for followers it has the early feel of Black Metal with its rawness, its energy, and its we-don’t-give-a-damn-what-you-think-of-it dark sensibility.
Put on the album, close yourself off from the world, turn up the volume — and enjoy the growling, crashing, pitch black and cold world of a great band finding its destiny.