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Transilvanian Hunger

Darkthrone

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Album Review

Norwegian black metal demigods Darkthrone concluded their infamous "unholy trinity" of career-crowning albums with 1994's Transilvanian Hunger — the first recorded solely by the central duo of vocalist Nocturno Culto and multi-instrumentalist Fenriz (not counting a few lyric-writing contributions from an especially tenebrous third party, to be named later). Transilvanian Hunger is also arguably, marginally, the most accessible of the three for virgin lost souls unfamiliar with Darkthrone, because it combines the slightly meatier (though still shockingly primitive and intentionally so) production of A Blaze in the Northern Sky with the more compelling and concise songwriting of Under a Funeral Moon, but, really, all are absolute classics in their own fashion. Another thing that set Transilvanian Hunger apart from its predecessors was its virtually unrelenting intensity, which was immediately announced by the implacable opening title track's blast-beaten advance and then maintained throughout by punishing yet totally irresistible aural assaults like "Skald Av Satans Sol," "Slottet I Det Fjerne," and "Graven Takeheimens Saler." All of these bear the devil's seal of hoarse screaming and thrumming rhythm guitars coruscated by hypnotically insistent melodic lines possessed of incredible claustrophobic repression (late-album cuts "I En Hall Med Flesk Og Mjød" and "As Flittermice As Satans Spys" are among the few cases where this formula finally does get a little tiresome). As a result of this relentless mindset, the sporadic "black and roll" tendencies that were flirted with on Funeral Moon — and which would often dominate Darkthrone's future exploits — were scaled back almost completely on Hunger. But, at the same time, when "En As I Dype Skogen" wound down into vaguely Arabian melodies, or "Over Fjell Og Gjennom Torner" into an echoing, deliberate drum tattoo paying tribute to Slayer's "Raining Blood," one quickly remembered that, of all the early practitioners of "True Norwegian Black Metal," Darkthrone would, over time, reveal themselves to be among the least insular of the bunch. Which brings us to the aforementioned third party conspirator, whose track record placed him at the opposite end of the tolerance spectrum: Burzum's Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes. Although already imprisoned the previous year for murder, arson, etc., it was Vikernes who provided lyrics for Hunger's final four songs, thus casting a pall over Darkthrone's controversial, gratuitous (and soon to be refuted) anti-Semitic shock tactics, which in fact reflected nothing more than Fenriz and Nocturno Culto's immature ignorance at the sheer gravity such remarks have. "Live and learn," as they say, and, luckily for Darkthrone, the unquestionable, warped genius of their musical vision would carry them through even this crisis, permitting Transilvanian Hunger to enjoy its deservedly high cult status despite this stain on its makers' reputations.

Customer Reviews

Amazing!

One of the all time classics of black metal, taking the low-fi necro ethic of the genre to its extreme, but unlike many of the more 'kvlt' black metal bands, not to cover up musical deficiencies. The music present is still very well played, the vocals are great and the riffs are memorable, but the atmosphere is the biggest draw of all. My only complaint might just be of the iTunes version, but what's up with the big pauses between all the songs? it kind of breaks the flow, and the otherwise impeccable atmosphere.

Darkthrone?

I listened to them when they were still Morningcushion

first?

It looks as if itunes got rid of all previous customer reviews for Darkthrone. Hmm, that is strange...
Anyway, if itunes doesn't delete my review, too, this is a must-buy album. One of the best black metal releases ever (just look up ANY top 10 list on the internet), this is by far the best thing Darkthrone has put out. All of their early 90's stuff is good, but Transylvanian Hunger is just on a different level. They produced it to sound as distant and grim as possible, they wrote catchy riffs, and best of all, they play fast tempo for the whole album. (one thing that usually bugs me is when Darkthrone slows down for 5 of the 7 minutes of a song). Really what more could you ask for.

Biography

Formed: Oslo, Norway

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Of all the major second wave black metal bands to emerge from Norway's fertile breeding grounds during the early 1990s, only a handful — Mayhem, Emperor, Enslaved, Ulver — have achieved the same exalted status and world-wide recognition as the legendary Darkthrone; and arguably none has been as consistent or prolific in the decades that followed. Unlike the majority of their peers, Darkthrone largely refused to tinker with their refreshingly straightforward and savage black metal formula...
Full Bio