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Nocturno Culto and Fenriz in 2005
Background information
Origin Kolbotn, Norway
Years active1986–present
Past members

Darkthrone is a black metal band from Kolbotn, Norway. It formed in 1986 as a death metal band under the name Black Death. [3] [4] In 1991, the band embraced a black metal style influenced by Bathory [5] and Celtic Frost [5] and became one of the leading bands in the Norwegian black metal scene.

Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, a shrieking vocal style, heavily distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, raw (lo-fi) recording, unconventional song structures, and an emphasis on atmosphere. Artists often appear in corpse paint and adopt pseudonyms.

Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion, occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.

Bathory (band) Swedish metal band

Bathory were an extreme metal group formed in Vällingby, Sweden, in 1983 named after Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory. The band's frontman and main songwriter was Quorthon. Considered to be one of the most influential acts in heavy metal, Bathory's first four albums are considered to be "the blueprint for Scandinavian black metal". The band departed from this style on their fifth album, Hammerheart (1990), which is often cited as the first Viking metal album. Bathory continued in the Viking metal style throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, although the band experimented with thrash metal on the albums Requiem (1994) and Octagon (1995). Bathory ended when Quorthon died from heart failure in 2004.


Their first three black metal albums— A Blaze in the Northern Sky , Under a Funeral Moon and Transilvanian Hunger (sometimes dubbed the "Unholy Trinity") [6] [7] — are considered the peak of the band's black metal career [8] and to be among the most influential albums in the genre. For most of this time, Darkthrone has been a duo of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto ever since the guitarist Zephyrous left the band in 1993. The band have sought to remain outside the music mainstream. [9] Since 2006, their work has strayed from the traditional black metal style and incorporated more elements of traditional heavy metal and speed metal, being likened to Motörhead. [9]

<i>A Blaze in the Northern Sky</i> 1992 studio album by Darkthrone

A Blaze in the Northern Sky is the second studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released on 26 February 1992 by Peaceville Records. It contained the band's first black metal recordings, and is considered a classic within the genre. It was the first album of what fans dub the "Unholy Trinity", the other albums being Under a Funeral Moon and Transilvanian Hunger. It was the last album to feature bassist Dag Nilsen.

<i>Under a Funeral Moon</i> 1993 studio album by Darkthrone

Under a Funeral Moon is the third studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was recorded in June 1992 and released 24 June 1993 by Peaceville Records. Under a Funeral Moon was the last album on which guitarist Zephyrous performed; he left the band shortly after its release.

<i>Transilvanian Hunger</i> 1994 studio album by Darkthrone

Transilvanian Hunger is the fourth studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released 17 February 1994 by Peaceville Records.


Death metal years: 19861991

The band that would become Darkthrone formed in late 1986 in Kolbotn, a small suburb of Oslo. They were a death metal band by the name of Black Death whose members were Gylve Nagell, Ivar Enger and Anders Risberget. Their main inspirations were Venom, Celtic Frost, Slayer and Cryptic Slaughter.[ citation needed ] In late 1987, the band changed their name to Darkthrone and were joined by Dag Nilsen. Ted Skjellum joined in spring of 1988. During 1988 and 1989, the band independently released four demo tapes: Land of Frost, A New Dimension, Thulcandra, and Cromlech.

Kolbotn Town in Østlandet, Norway

Kolbotn is the centre of Oppegård, Norway. The population is about 8,000. Kolbotn has several elementary schools, four middle schools and a high school. Town is located at the end of Kolbotnvannet, a lake.

Oslo Place in Østlandet, Norway

Oslo is the capital and most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a county and a municipality. Founded in the year 1040 as Ánslo, and established as a kaupstad or trading place in 1048 by Harald Hardrada, the city was elevated to a bishopric in 1070 and a capital under Haakon V of Norway around 1300. Personal unions with Denmark from 1397 to 1523 and again from 1536 to 1814 reduced its influence. After being destroyed by a fire in 1624, during the reign of King Christian IV, a new city was built closer to Akershus Fortress and named Christiania in the king's honour. It was established as a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt) on 1 January 1838. The city functioned as a co-official capital during the 1814 to 1905 Union between Sweden and Norway. In 1877, the city's name was respelled Kristiania in accordance with an official spelling reform – a change that was taken over by the municipal authorities only in 1897. In 1925 the city, after incorporating the village retaining its former name, was renamed Oslo.

Fenriz Norwegian musician

Gylve Fenris Nagell, better known as Fenriz, is a Norwegian musician and politician who is best known as being one half of the metal duo Darkthrone. Although primarily a drummer, he has also performed bass, guitar and vocals for Darkthrone and a number of other metal bands. Fenriz is known for his refusal to play live, his obsessiveness about music listening, supporting other underground bands and his lack of interest in the mainstream music business in general. Fenriz has had three solo projects: the folk metal project Isengard, the dark ambient project Neptune Towers and the doom metal project Valhall.

They were subsequently signed to the independent record label Peaceville Records with a four-album contract. In 1990, they recorded their first studio album, Soulside Journey . Because of a small recording budget, the band could not afford the kind of studio they wanted but, thanks to the members of Nihilist and Entombed, they were able to record their album at Sunlight Studios. Although mainly death metal in style, there were some elements of black metal present in terms of artwork and songwriting.

Peaceville Records is a British independent heavy metal record label. The label was founded by Paul "Hammy" Halmshaw in Dewsbury, England in 1987, who was also a one-time drummer of Sore Throat. Originally a tape label releasing anarcho punk, the releases moved towards metal through crust punk and similar forms of metal-influenced English hardcore punk. Halmshaw started running the label full-time in 1988, although the original tape label incarnation was founded in 1981 as a vehicle for releasing Instigators demo cassettes.

<i>Soulside Journey</i> 1991 studio album by Darkthrone

Soulside Journey is the first studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released 13 January 1991 by Peaceville Records. It is notable as the band's only death metal album, before they became an integral part of the Norwegian black metal scene.

Nihilist was a Swedish death metal band formed in 1987 by Nicke Andersson and Alex Hellid. The band split-up in 1989 when Johnny Hedlund left to form Unleashed. The remaining members reformed the band under the name Entombed. Nihilist never recorded a full-length album before they renamed as Entombed, but a collection of their demo work was released in 2005. Guitarist Leif "Leffe" Cuzner died in June 2006.

Immediately following the release of this album, the band continued writing and recording new material, recording every new song on tape until it was a full album. These demos were entirely instrumental but they demonstrated the band's gradual shift towards black metal. In 1997, they would be released on the compilation album Goatlord .

<i>Goatlord</i> (album) 1996 demo album by Darkthrone

Goatlord is a demo album by Norwegian band Darkthrone, released in 1996. The album was re-released by Peaceville Records in 2011, with new artwork approved by the band and a second disc containing commentary from Fenriz and Nocturno Culto.

Black years

Early black metal years: 19911994

The Darkthrone logo, as it has appeared on the band's releases since its first album, Soulside Journey. It was designed by Tassilo Forg, Gylve "Fenriz" Nagell and Tomas Lindberg of Grotesque/At the Gates Darkthrone Logo.png
The Darkthrone logo, as it has appeared on the band's releases since its first album, Soulside Journey . It was designed by Tassilo Förg, Gylve "Fenriz" Nagell and Tomas Lindberg of Grotesque/At the Gates

During 1991, Darkthrone adopted the aesthetic style that would come to represent the black metal scene, wearing corpse paint and working under pseudonyms. Gylve Nagell became "Fenriz", Ted Skjellum became "Nocturno Culto" and Ivar Enger became "Zephyrous". In August 1991, they recorded their second album, which was released at the beginning of 1992 and titled A Blaze in the Northern Sky . The album contained Darkthrone's first black metal recordings, and Peaceville Records was originally skeptical about releasing it due to Darkthrone's extreme diversion from their original death metal style. [10] After the album was recorded, bassist Dag Nilsen left the band, and is merely credited as "session bass" with no picture on the album.

Corpse paint

Corpse paint or corpsepaint is a style of black and white makeup used by black metal bands for concerts and band photos. The makeup is used to make the musicians appear inhuman, corpse-like, or demonic, and is perhaps "the most identifiable aspect of the black metal aesthetic."

A pseudonym or alias is a name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which can differ from their first or true name (orthonym).

Nocturno Culto Norwegian metal musician

Ted Skjellum, also known by the stage names Nocturno Culto, Nocturno or Kveldulv, is a Norwegian musician best known as the vocalist, lead guitarist, and partial bassist of the influential black metal band Darkthrone. He has been with the band since 1988. He is also the vocalist of the band Sarke. He currently works in Norway as a school teacher, and has a son and a daughter. He has also released a documentary film called The Misanthrope in which he deals with black metal music and life in Norway.

The band's third album, Under a Funeral Moon , was recorded in the summer of 1992 and released in early 1993. It marked Darkthrone's total conversion to the black metal style, and is considered a landmark for the development of the genre as a whole. This album also marked the last album on which guitarist Zephyrous would perform.

It was followed by their fourth album, Transilvanian Hunger , which was released in February 1994. This was Darkthrone's first album to have just two members, Nocturno Culto and Fenriz. The band would remain a duo from this point onwards. Transilvanian Hunger was characterized by a very "raw" or "low fidelity" recording style and musical simplicity. The album's release caused some controversy: half of its lyrics were written by the Norwegian black metal musician Varg Vikernes, and its booklet contained the phrase "Norsk Arisk Black Metal", which translates into English as "Norwegian Aryan Black Metal".

With Moonfog Records: 19952004

Darkthrone moved to another independent record label, Moonfog Productions, for subsequent releases. The label was run by Satyr of the black metal band Satyricon.

Their fifth album, Panzerfaust , was released in 1995. The album was received well, although its production, which is similar to that of Transilvanian Hunger, encountered some criticisms. Their sixth album, Total Death , was released during 1996 and is notable for featuring lyrics written by four other black metal musicians, and none at all written by the group's main lyricist Fenriz.

During the years 1993–1995, drummer Fenriz was involved with numerous side projects. This included his solo ambient project Neptune Towers, recording an album with Satyr as the trio Storm, and playing bass on Dødheimsgard's debut album. Also he began playing drums for Valhall again, after having been one of the founding members in 1988 but leaving in 1990 to concentrate on Darkthrone.

In 1999, Darkthrone released the album Ravishing Grimness , and in 2001 their following album, Plaguewielder . While Transilvanian Hunger and Panzerfaust had songs written solely by Fenriz, these two albums had songs mostly written by Nocturno Culto and were both recorded in Ronny Le Tekrøe's studio at Toten, Norway. This explains the somewhat "clearer" sound on those records. [11]

In the last years of the 1990s, two Darkthrone tribute albums were released: Darkthrone Holy Darkthrone in 1998 and The Next Thousand Years Are Ours in 1999. The band also released Preparing for War, a compilation of songs from 1988–1994. In 2002, the intro of their song "Kathaarian Life Code" appeared in the last scene of the film Demonlover .

In 2003, the band released the album Hate Them . Although this record and their next contain electronic introductions, they remain true to Darkthrone's early black metal style. Sardonic Wrath was released in 2004. It was the band's last album with Moonfog Productions and their last to be recorded solely in the black metal style. This album was nominated for Norway's Alarm Awards; however, the album's entry was withdrawn at the band's request. Their next releases would feature strong crust punk traits.

Change in direction: 2005present

In 2005, Darkthrone confirmed that they had returned to Peaceville Records, after leaving the record label in 1994. They had also started up their own record label, Tyrant Syndicate Productions, to release their future albums. To celebrate their return, Peaceville re-issued the Preparing for War compilation with a bonus CD of demos and a DVD of live performances. Darkthrone's first four albums were also re-released with video interviews about each of them.

Darkthrone released their eleventh album, The Cult Is Alive , during early 2006. The album represented a shift in the band's style as the music incorporated crust punk traits. While Darkthrone's black metal roots were still evident, their shift from the genre's typical sound was more noticeable. The Cult Is Alive was the first Darkthrone album to appear on the album chart in Norway, debuting at number 22. [12]

In July 2007, the band released the EP NWOBHM (an acronym for 'New wave of black heavy metal', a take-off on the original 'New wave of British heavy metal') as a preview for their next album. In September that year, Darkthrone released the album F.O.A.D. (an acronym for Fuck Off and Die). The phrase was used by many thrash metal and punk bands during the 1980s. While the music partially continued the punk-oriented style that was introduced on The Cult Is Alive, this time the band focused more on traditional heavy metal.

Also during 2007, Nocturno Culto completed and released The Misanthrope, a film about black metal and life in Norway. It includes some of his own solo recordings. In October 2008, Dark Thrones and Black Flags was released, using much the same style as the previous album. In 2010, the band released the album Circle the Wagons , which again mixed crust punk along with speed metal and traditional heavy metal.

In late 2010, Peaceville acquired the rights to the band's Moonfog albums and re-issued Panzerfaust as a two-disc set and on vinyl. The re-issue of Total Death was set for March 14, 2011. In July 2012, Darkthrone announced a new album, titled The Underground Resistance ; it was released on February 25, 2013. [13] The band released their 16th studio album, titled Arctic Thunder, on October 14, 2016. [14] [15]

On October 22, 2016, the band revealed via Facebook that they would be issuing a compilation album entitled The Wind of 666 Black Hearts . The album, released November 25, 2016, is composed of demos recorded in 1991 and 1992 for songs which later appeared on A Blaze in the Northern Sky and Under a Funeral Moon. [16]

In June 2018, it was announced that Darkthrone would record a new studio album in October of the same year. Darkthrone announced in March 2019 that they would be releasing their seventeenth studio album, Old Star on May 31 of the same year.

Band members

Current members

Former members





Studio albums

1991 Soulside Journey The band's only death metal studio album.
1992 A Blaze in the Northern Sky Recorded in August 1991 [18] and released in February 1992.
Final release with bassist Dag Nilsen.
1993 Under a Funeral Moon Recorded in June 1992 and released in March 1993.
Final release with guitarist Ivar Enger.
1994 Transilvanian Hunger Recorded in November–December 1993 with vocals added early in 1994. Released in February 1994.
Featured four songs with lyrics written by Varg Vikernes.
1995 Panzerfaust Recorded in February–April 1994 and released in June 1995.
Featured one song with lyrics written by Varg Vikernes.
1996 Total Death Featured lyrics written by four guests from other black metal bands.
1999 Ravishing Grimness
2001 Plaguewielder
2003 Hate Them
2004 Sardonic Wrath
2006 The Cult Is Alive NOR #22
SWE #59
First album in the band's change in style with traits of crust punk
2007 F.O.A.D. Incorporated traits of punk and traditional heavy metal
2008 Dark Thrones and Black Flags Incorporated traits of punk and traditional heavy metal
2010 Circle the Wagons NOR #23Elements of crust punk, speed metal and traditional heavy metal
2013 The Underground Resistance FIN #35
NOR #23
SWE #50
Elements of thrash, speed, black and doom metal, and punk
2016 Arctic Thunder [14] [15] FIN #40
GER #56
Mixture of heavy metal riffs and mid-period Darkthrone riffing
2019 Old Star Elements of traditional heavy metal, black, thrash, death and doom metal.


EPs and singles

Compilations and tribute albums

Related Research Articles

<i>Panzerfaust</i> (album) 1995 studio album by Darkthrone

Panzerfaust is the fifth studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone, released in June 1995 by Moonfog Productions (Europe) and The End Records. The track "Quintessence" featured lyrics by Varg Vikernes, their second and final album to do so. As with the previous album Transilvanian Hunger, all instruments on Panzerfaust were recorded solely by Fenriz on a 4-track recorder set up in his bedroom ; with Nocturno Culto performing vocals on all songs except for the outro.

<i>Total Death</i> 1996 studio album by Darkthrone

Total Death is the sixth studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was recorded in August and October 1995 at Ancient Specter Ruins and released in 1996 by Moonfog Productions.

<i>Ravishing Grimness</i> 1999 studio album by Darkthrone

Ravishing Grimness is the seventh studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released 29 September 1999 by Moonfog Productions.

<i>Plaguewielder</i> 2001 studio album by Darkthrone

Plaguewielder is the eighth studio album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released 10 September 2001 by Moonfog Productions.

<i>Hate Them</i> 2003 studio album by Darkthrone

Hate Them is the ninth studio album by Norwegian black metal band, Darkthrone. It was released 10 March 2003 by Moonfog Productions. Like their subsequent release, Sardonic Wrath, the album had an electronic intro and outro created by Lars Sørensen from Red Harvest. The cover image was the work of Eric Syre from Thesyre, and incorporated images of the Sagrada Família Catholic church in Barcelona. In 2012, the album was reissued by Peaceville Records, including a bonus CD with audio commentary by the band.

<i>Sardonic Wrath</i> 2004 studio album by Darkthrone

Sardonic Wrath is the 10th studio album by the Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released 6 September 2004 by Moonfog Productions, and was the band's last album on that record label. It was also Darkthrone's last album recorded solely in the black metal style, with subsequent albums featuring stronger punk traits. However, Einar Sjursø observed in Terrorizer that "even if there is a certain punk attitude to the odd riff here and there" it is a case of "the diabolic duo [Fenriz and Nocturno Culto]...simply drawing more influences into the Darkthrone melting pot, turning them into crystalline Darkthrone riffs".

<i>The Cult Is Alive</i> 2006 studio album by Darkthrone

The Cult is Alive is the 11th studio album by the Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was released 27 February 2006 by Peaceville Records. This album represented a shift in the band's style, as they incorporated more punk and crust punk traits. Drummer Fenriz stated, "Call it black metal or evil rock, I don't care..."

<i>F.O.A.D.</i> 2007 studio album by Darkthrone

F.O.A.D. is the 12th studio album by the Norwegian band Darkthrone. It was released 25 September 2007 by Peaceville Records. Special editions of the album contained a postcard, poster and T-shirt.

<i>Frostland Tapes</i> 2008 compilation album by Darkthrone

Frostland Tapes is a compilation album by the Norwegian black metal band, Darkthrone. It was released through Peaceville Records on June 23, 2008.

<i>Dark Thrones and Black Flags</i> 2008 studio album by Darkthrone

Dark Thrones and Black Flags is the 13th studio album by the Norwegian band Darkthrone. It was released 20 October 2008 by Peaceville Records. The music largely followed in the style of their previous album, F.O.A.D. Half of the lyrics and music were written by Nocturno Culto, while the other half were written by Fenriz.

<i>Circle the Wagons</i> 2010 studio album by Darkthrone

Circle the Wagons is the 14th studio album by the Norwegian band Darkthrone. The album was released 5 April 2010 by Peaceville Records. Fenriz, the band's drummer, described the music as Darkthrone's "own brand of heavy metal/speed metal-punk", and declared it a further shift from their old black metal style. About half of the album was written by Fenriz and half by Nocturno Culto.

<i>Arctic Thunder</i> (album) 2016 studio album by Darkthrone

Arctic Thunder is the 16th studio album by Norwegian band Darkthrone. It was released 14 October 2016 by Peaceville Records. It was recorded from August to December 2015 at Necrohell II Studios. The first single from the album was "Tundra Leech".

The Wind of 666 Black Hearts is a compilation album by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. It was announced via Darkthrone's official Facebook page on October 22, 2016 and released on November 25, 2016. The album is a collection of demos recorded in 1991 and 1992 at the band's rehearsal space in Vinterbro, Norway. The demos would later develop into songs on the band's first and second black metal albums A Blaze in the Northern Sky and Under a Funeral Moon.


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