2009-01-13 Darkthrone

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Two maniacs with Rock´n´Roll in their veins – that´s all the norwegian Black Metal-pioneers DARKTHRONE need to release outstanding Old School-albums one by one. Their newest release is called “Dark Thrones And Black Flags” that gets enlarged on by drummer Fenriz who also offers us some of the coolest answers in the history of our magazine...InterviewHi Fenriz, how are you?

I've never been better, this year I got a lot of recognition for my life and commitment to the 1560 square kilometres of forest around Oslo, and my engagement in the preservation of old forest areas. and I have been working with more trading and networking in the worldwide metal underground than ever before, even more than in 1987, 88, 89.

At first: We all know who the Dark Thrones are, but what are the Black Flags???

The title is just PURE ATTITUDE, it's a "line" that I liked to have in my head as a title, and I didn't really have many other alternatives for an album title - every journalist wants to talk to me about punk because of the title which is nice for me - but it's not so nice to see that people are easily lead like SHEEP and they think that because of this title they can hear more punk than usual - when the fact is that this album has less punk on it than “The Cult Is Alive” or “Fuck Off And Die” albums.

However - there is more fast type of NWOBHM on this album because I wrote parts like that at the end of 3 of my songs for this album.

It seems I will continue a lot in this style, NWOBHM-Speed Black Punk, very much 1979-83 styles for me these days.

The people who have really bought and not just downloaded “Dark Thrones And Black Flags” perhaps realize the fact that all of your personal lyrics are written down in the again cool designed booklet, but not the ones written by Nocturno Culto. So why doesn´t he share his lyrics with the listener?

Because we are not like that. We are VERY seldom asking each other WHY we do certain things. It is perhaps one of the reasons we still play and live DARKTHRONE together, that we keep distance and wonder between us, instead of always asking questions. I also don't know why he did not want to include a recommendations list this time, it's just his choice, that's all.

Thank you for saying nice things about the booklet, since I started to design the covers and booklets again (I didn't care about the visuals of DARKTHRONE from 1996-2005) I put A LOT of work into them, so that they are like a little fanzine or something.

On your last few albums you have paid homage to many Old School Metal-bands from the 80´s. Do you see DARKTHRONE as some kind of tribute-band nowadays?

Already in the early 90s when people asked what was our mission - I said in most interviews that we were just playing 80s Black Metal, combining the styles of CELTIC FROST and BATHORY. These bands continue to be important to us, but so many people started copying BATHORY that I am now leaving that to them, and instead I am more influenced by THE WAYS of Quorthon, not playing live, keeping to himself - and so on.

So it is nothing new to us to pay homage to the 80s, but now we go further back, including a lot more bands (like we thought in typical 1988) and if there is one DARKTHRONE-song we sound close to these days it's our song “Snowfall” from 1988. But our point now is to go back into the history of Metal, from 1985 and back to the 60s.

Typically - people with large record collections and lots of spirit for metal throughout the golden ages are liking what we do these days. People "just" into "Black Metal" after 1991 can listen to something else.

People that want to hear our records from the 90s should listen to TANGORODRIM (Israel) or ORCUSTUS (Norway) instead. Great bands.

Many of your long lasting fans criticise that DARKTHRONE have removed from the erstwhile Black Metal-style that you have defined more than any other band of the “Second Generation” of this genre. Might it ever be possible that there will be another record in the style of perhaps “Transilvanian Hunger” or “Under A Funeral Moon”?

The “Transilvanian Hunger” style has been copied by hundreds of bands since day one, people should listen to the copies or they should listen to transilvanian hunger one more time if they want this type of style. This album was highly unoriginal, everyone in Norway at least were doing those kinds of riffs at that time - only we took it to the extreme (not changing drum tempo until song Nr. 5!) and that's what people seem to remember. So it was both original and unoriginal at the same time. The monotone style was a reaction first heard on some BATHORY, but then it was quiet, no one copied the monotony of BATHORY in the 80s because people weren't ready, the 80s was a decade with a lot of HECTIC metal, always changing riffs and drum tempos. So in early 90s bands like VON felt the need to do something very different and had a huge impact on us around the HELVETE shop of Euronymous. BURZUM did this style in a great manner. “Transilvanian Hunger” and some songs I wrote for “Panzerfaust” was also monotone, but as anyone could hear I was quickly moving away from the monotone again, it was too much depressive black and NOT ENOUGH METAL. (as Gezol would say).

How would you personally describe today´s musical style of DARKTHRONE? As Black Metal, Punk, Rock´n´Roll…?

It says on the top of our “Myspace”-page as anyone can see. It's divided between many styles, mainly HEAVY/SPEED/BLACK/PUNK and also NWOBHM and Blues-based Heavy Rock from the 60s up to the 80s.

You love to recommend old records to your fans. The booklets of “F.O.A.D.” and “Dark Thrones And Black Flags” are decorated by an enumeration of several albums from the past. Could you perhaps tell our readers your five (or perhaps ten, if you like) favourite albums of all time?

That's of course impossible as I have around 9000 titles, that list would change from day to day, there are at least 100 super important Bands in Metal, and our beloved encyclpedia METAL ARCHIVES has listed over 50 thousand bands (but not SLIPKNOT, they refuse to include them - AHAHAHAHA so cool!).

The list should be some record with BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA, SLAYER, CELTIC FROST or AC/DC I guess.

Recently you released a compilation called “Frostland Tapes” with several old demos und stuff on it. What do you feel when you listen to these recordings today? Do you see them as your natural roots or more as some kind of DARKTHRONE´s “accident of birth”?

Everything we do is an accident!!! HAHAA! But it's true, there is sooo many people that are control freaks in this Metal world. We prefer to let coincidences rule. Also because this was the way of the 80s - there were no real Metal studios or techniques back then, and getting a "PRO" sound was insanely expensive. So small underground bands often had to rush it in local studios and the WONDERFUL result was that most recordings sounded completely different!! YEAH!! I love that and I never want to quit that! Since 89-90 it was suddenly very cheap and simple to get a "PRO" sound (click click bass drums, pro tools....means that I HATE it).

Yeah, our first demo “Land Of Frost” was of course recorded before we should, but it also HAD to be done - we don't really PLAN things in this band, we follow our hearts and do stuff when we need to do them. So I was ashamed of this demo at once we had made our next recording "Snowfall" and so on. In ‘89 I just got rid of my copy of “Land Of Frost”, I didn't want to hear it anymore. I had always a copy of “Snowfall”, but the other demos was also gone from my house in around ‘91. So it was great to hear it all again and have them compiled like that.

When will we see you playing live in Germany again? (just kidding!)

We will be touring Travemünde from April-June this year (67 gigs, only getting payed in KÄSE) and of course our MINIATURE gig (small puppets of me and Ted playing a tiny gig on the bosom of Angela Merkel).

And in the end… the question everyone expects me to ask… so I will do: do you like the new METALLICA-album “Death Magnetic”???

I haven't heard it, the last METALLICA album I bought was “Garage Days” and then “…And Justice For All”. I heard some songs from that.... black (?) album but after that I can't remember if I heard anything. I am more into Metal on an underground basis, here are some of the active bands I support these days: