Darkthrone's Fenriz Talks "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" And More
Band Photo: Darkthrone (?)
MetalReview.com has wrapped up its "90's Essentials" interview series by chatting up Fenriz of Darkthrone about the "A Blaze in the Northern Sky" album and more. You can check out an excerpt from the interview below.
MetalReview: So, the MetalReview staff has spent the last half a year bickering and voting about the absolute best metal albums of the 1990s, and, quite surprisingly, we managed to reach a consensus of a list that encloses the 100 Most Essential LPs of the decade. A Darkthrone album belongs to such a list by default and we decided to go with A Blaze in the Northern Sky. What are your initial impressions of this nomination?
Fenriz: I feel frisky and fetched by it! It sounds as fresh as necro can be! BUT the reason I have to be stern about A Blaze in The Northern Sky is that it fooled people and people got fooled by it. And I'm talking about the press, fans and players in the scene. The packaging, sound and production made everyone think it was a pure black metal album, and then sort of widened the scope for what COULD be black metal. It was not intended that way. After we'd quit the old style of very technical death metal finally, we only had months before studio time, already booked for the supposed Goatlord album, and little time to make a full PRIMITIVE black metal album, so the 3 pure black metal songs on it are "Kathaarian Life Code," "In The Shadow Of the Horns" (complete with Motörhead mid paced part and lots of Celtic Frost vibes as usual) and "Where Cold Winds Blow." The rest was really a lot of death metal with some black metal parts – but everyone seemed to not think twice about THAT...
MetalReview: As a guy who has gazillion albums under his belt, how do you nowadays feel about A Blaze in the Northern Sky, one of your earliest creations, and do you think it’s worth the crazy adoration it’s been subjected to? Also, would you personally have chosen some other Darkthrone full-length from the 90s, considering the context?
Fenriz: It's fine with me! But for maximum black metal value one should choose Under a Funeral Moon. A Blaze in the Northern Sky probably has more “substance” to it, though. I'm used to people kissing that album's ass, I just say FINE here and FINE there when it's hailed (not trying to be cocky, it's just how the days roll by here) and I wait for some passiar (discussion) with those who REALLY understand it.
MetalReview: You’ve stated that Peaceville was less than happy with what you guys delivered with your sophomore full-length, and apparently after the recording your bass player Dag Nilsen drew the conclusion that it was not the style of music he wanted to play. Nowadays, it’s easy to forget that A Blaze in the Northern Sky really was an extremely unusual piece of music upon its release and that many people had a hard time digesting it. How did you react to the feedback? Furthermore, I know that even back then you were a band with a strong confidence in what you were doing, but did you have any doubts about the quality of your introduction to black metal, considering that there were so many people within the metal scene that couldn’t understand it?
Fenriz: YES, good point! Good point INDEED about remembering how it was received. Cuz as I said above, now everyone kisses its ass but at the time we didn't get much feedback at all! But in HINDSIGHT everybody hails it, and I'm talking about the major magazines too, summoning up the 90s like y'all are here. But at the time it was extremely radical to for instance have a black and white photo of ONE of the band members on the cover. It was UNHEARD of!!! Everyone had their paintings and whatnot. And later in the 90s THE HORRIBLY BAD TASTE of Photoshop covers - although THAT trend STILL reigns! Metal is a world of class but an even bigger world of NO CLASS, haha!
Everyone thinks we got a lot of feedback as it is a classic today but we got close to nothing, and in our personal lives we were more interested in worshipping music and getting fucked up and prepare for the next album, Under a Funeral Moon. Not a lot of press contact or anything back then, there was no Internet and the blackpackers (tourists that invaded Oslo and ELM STREET ROCK PUB to meet “BM LEGENDS”) didn't really start until 1994.
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