If someone asked me to pick the defining moment in the Black Metal musical movement I would say the release of this album. Everything here from its attitude to its content and production screams "True Norwegian Black Metal", as this should be the dictionary definition of Black Metal. Opening with one of the most melodic yet ugly sounding riffs of all time "Transilvanian Hunger", the title track to this album, is one of the greatest songs ever penned as it screams pure blasphemy and paints a picture of winter with two colours. There are moments however when things are not so black and white as with each listen certain subtle melodies speak infinite shades of grey to give life to this dirty, evil, grim and cold masterpiece.
With this album DARKTHRONE distanced themselves from their thrashy non-melodic influences and created their own sound as the high end tremolo strummed riffing sears through your head and takes you on a journey through snow covered landscapes under the night sky with a shining full moon. Pure repetition is one of the key points to the succession of this album as most riffs are played for a long time allowing the ambience of them so form around you and make you feel frost tingling up your spine due to the uncontrollable cold rage bellowing fourth with pure conviction and unrivalled passion from your CD player.
In its time this was original and the trade mark DARKTHRONE riffing of simple melodic lead progression layered over standard power chords was conceived and since then it has been imitated by hundreds but none have ever come close to capturing the pure essence of Black Metal like DARKTHRONE have done here. "Slottet I Det Fjerne" showcases fantastic vocal work layered over a fantastically infectious opening riff which progresses with ultimate simplicity to create a monster of a track with amazing primal riffing and enchanting melodic riffs.
Relentless percussion from Fenriz helps to ensure this album runs at a steady yet fast pace allowing each riff to become a part of the story of the defining moment of Black Metal, and although the vocals don't have that genius reverb effect as on "Under A Funeral Moon" they appear to be delivered with such a cold indifference that it sounds so inhuman and evil, especially on the tracks written in Norwegian. "En As I Dype Skogen" is possibly my favourite track on the album as in nature it is one of the more powerful simplistic ones which is executed with absolute perfection as each riff howls on the cold norse winds and interchanges beautifully with perfect flow and direction and is the perfect end to an amazing epic journey.
This album can't be worth anything less than a 10 and although in my opinion it can never (neither can anything else for that matter) match or surpass the genius of "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" it wipes the floor with anything else in the Black Metal genre. (Online September 26, 2003)