09 June, 2013

Darkthrone: Lesser Men – new video

Off one of this year's best records so far, DARKTHRONE's ‘Underground Resistance’, comes ‘Lesser Men’ – now also available in its video form. I agree, there’s not much to see, but then again these two, Fenriz and Nocturno Culto, have always been a bit special. Returning from the free-spirited metallic lands just in time to to deliver some masterful riffing (in a broad range of styles - from classic metal to thrash, from speed to black metal, not forgetting to add a pinch of punk) in February 2013, ‘The Underground Resistance’ should be sought out through Peaceville Records store here. Undoubtedly DARKTHRONE's strongest outing of late, ‘The Underground Resistance’ was written and recorded by guitarist, bassist, vocalist and lyricist Nocturno Culto (Ted Skjellum) and drummer, guitarist, bassist, vocalist and lyricist Fenriz (Gylve Fenris Nagell) at Necrohell 2 studios and mastered by Jack Control at Enormous Door in Texas, USA. The album's art was created by the iconic artist Jim Fitzpatrick.

Astonishingly, those who came to be known as “black metal's most reliable driving force” later on, started out as a death metal band known as “Black Death” – back in 1986, in Kolbotn, Norway. Or in Fenriz's own words:
“That means, we really couldn’t play, so any direction was a future hope, ha ha ha… In 1987, after the summer holidays I moved from Kolbotn to Vinterbro where I was kinda secluded because of necro public transportation. I delved furthermore into the magic abyss of 80's metal underground, and had no [choice but to] ditch members from my band and to get new ones.”
Becoming DARKTHRONE, the band independently released four demo tapes and was eventually signed by Peaceville Records. In 1991, Fenriz, Nocturno Culto, Dag Nilsen and Zephyrous (Ivar Enger) saw the release of the first DARKTHRONE full-length, ‘Soulside Journey’, reissued by Peaceville in 2003. The band's first black metal recording, these days considered a classic within the genre, ‘A Blaze In The Northern Sky’, followed in 1992:
“The legend has it that [Peaceville Records] thought this was a joke; such was the inexplicably crude violence perpetrated by its sometimes epic-length black metal odes to all things wicked and obscure. But once they discovered that the album's lo-fi standards were in fact entirely planned (and after much acrimonious haggling between both parties), the album was duly released against the label's better judgment… But instead, ‘Blaze’ became a turning point, philosophically and literally, for both DARKTHRONE and the entire black metal genre, which it helped to reignite,” [commemorated the moment Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]
After 1993's ‘Under A Funeral Moon’, qualified as “an historic example of anti-production” by Mr. Rivadavia (more here), Zephirous vanished and DARKTHRONE would remain a duo from then onwards. Loud in their ignorance and associating themselves with convicted murderer Varg Vikernes, the pair proceeded to record ‘Transilvanian Hunger’, issued in 1994, which, we are told by Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic, we should permit “to enjoy its deservedly high cult status despite this stain on its makers' reputations” (more here). Confronted with criticism, the band explained:
“We wish to state that ‘Transylvanian Hunger’ is beyond criticism, and any man who attempts to do so should be thoroughly patronized for his obviously Jewish behaviour.”
They tried to explain themselves again, stating that in Norwegian, the word “Jewish” simply means “idiot” and that the statement was not intended as racial insult. Not as amused as I am right now, DARKTHRONE was dropped by Peaceville Records. They released ‘Panzerfaust’ in 1995 through Moonfog Productions and The End Records. 1997's ‘Goatlord’ was followed by two tribute albums in 1998 and 1999, when DARKTHRONE's seventh album, ‘Ravishing Grimness’, appeared. 2001's ‘Plaguewielder’ marked the return to dirtier, blackened sounds, and the 2003's ‘Hate Them’ had, the once notorious duo,  “come face to face with their inescapable musical and emotional adulthood” (courtesy Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here). On their eleventh album, and their last released on Moonfog, 2004's ‘Sardonic Wrath’, DARKTHRONE first embraced punk and rock influences. In 2005, they re-joined forces with Peaceville Records. In 2006, they released ‘The Cult Is Alive’, which caused AllMusic's Steward Mason to describe DARKTHRONE as “the ROLLING STONES of death metal” (more here). Their next album, called ‘Fuck Off & Die’, released in 2007, was followed by ‘Dark Thrones And Black Flags’ in 2008 and ‘Circle Of Wagons’ came next in 2010:
“Black metal bands, by definition, are essentially born out of a desire to challenge society with uncompromising music and shocking behavior, and they’re hardly averse to flying in the face of their own fan base's expectations, either, if instructed to do so by their dark muse. … In sum, while ‘Circle The Wagons’ is sure to appease some of the band's irate fans with its return to more conventionally metallic musical environs, don’t think for a minute that DARKTHRONE's members did this for anyone but themselves. If you haven't figured this out already, DARKTHRONE simply doesn't give a f**k about anyone else,” [was being smart again Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]
DARKTHRONE features: Fenriz – drums, guitar, bass, vocals and lyrics and Nocturno Culto - guitars, bass, vocals and lyrics

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