Initially a project of keyboardist/programmer Soren Bengtsson and bassist/vocalist "Captain" Juha Nurmenniemi, Darxtar has continued to evolve since the forced departure of Nurmenniemi in 1994. Their 2001 album, Tombola, introduced a new lineup featuring guitarist/vocalist Bjorn Jacobson and violinist Fredric Sundqvist.
Meeting in a used record store in Stockholm in 1989, Bengtsson and Nurmenniemi collaborated on their first recording during the summer of 1990. Nurmenniemi, who had begun playing guitar in 1978, had been focusing on computerized keyboards for several years before returning to the guitar in October 1988. Planning a tribute album to commemorate the songs of the late Hawkwind singer/songwriter, Robert Calvert, Bengtsson and Nurmenniemi recorded a cassette in Bengtsson's home studio. Two tracks were subsequently released on the multi-artist compilation Daydreams & Nightmares. Asked to record a full-length album, Bengtsson and Nurmenniemi began work on Darxtar's self-titled debut album. By the time that the album was released on Acid Tapes in December 1991, and reissued by SPM World Wide, the two musicians had begun work on a follow-up, Darker. Although rejected by SPM World Wide for being "too experimental," Swedish label Garageland agreed to release it in 1993.
Recording their third album, Daybreak, as a band, Darxtar performed their first concerts in late 1994. As their differences became more and more pronounced during a European tour, Bengtsson and Nurmenniemi began to argue. Following the tour, Nurmenniemi was asked to leave the group. In a late-'80s interview, Bengtsson recalled, "Nurmenniemi was sacked. He's a difficult character and I just couldn't take anymore of him." Continuing to play without Nurmenniemi, Darxtar experienced its first break when they were invited to accompany Hawkwind vocalist Nik Turner on solo tours in 1995 and 1998.