You can without a shadow of doubt call them a cult-band as they had been THE trigger for the wave of Black Metal: DARKTHRONE. Ever since they are surrounded by a mysterious aura, before some immature thoughts made them personae non gratae in the Mid-Nineties, after what they had said absolutely justified. In the meantime they are rehabilitated and have just released their ninth album "Plaguewielder". So "The Metal Observer" has tried everything to get in touch with the band and Nocturno Culto, singer, guitarist and bassist, heard our calls and came to answer...
Why is it that Fenriz doesn't write melodic riffs anymore and continues with his HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST-inspired riffs? Will this continue on into the distant future or will we see a return of melodic riffs from him?
Guess you have to ask him about that, but I believe that he will do different stuff on the next album, which so far has the working title "HAIL".
I've read in several interviews that Tom G Warrior doesn't approve of the blatant CELTIC FROST/HELLHAMMER-influences in DARKTHRONE's music, because he says that CELTIC FROST was all about breaking new musical ground and DARKTHRONE is basically just copying them. What is your opinion of his viewpoint?
Mr. Warrior is right, if we talk of "Panzerfaust". This album has some tracks, which is a hail to CELTIC FROST, but otherwise I think that DARKTHRONE has created it's own sound. CELTIC FROST sure broke some new ground with "Cold Lake"...?!
Many people say that MAYHEM influenced DARKTHRONE to play Black Metal. Do you feel that DARKTHRONE influenced MAYHEM and/or the rest of the Norwegian scene in any way?
MAYHEM's "front figure" earlier on did inspire some people with a lot of spectacular thinking, but had nothing to do with DARKTHRONE's decisions. As for the musically part, they've not released much, but I think "De Mysteriis" was a good album. Glad you asked me this, 'cause some sad losers desperately like to believe that MAYHEM had some major influence on us...
Of all the albums you have made which do you feel has had the greatest impact on you as a person and why?
In my 13 years with DARKTHRONE, some fucken weird stuff has crossed my path, therefore I remember "Transilvanian Hunger" as the most crazy and mean time of my life.
With the new album band pictures that were released there was no use of corpse-paint. Why have you gone away from this and do you intend to use it again in the future?
In the early days, this was some true Black Magic-ritual for us, and we used corpse-paint very often, rehearsals and so on...once in a while one of us took a camera along when we walked the night earth, so the pictures you see on "A Blaze In The Northern Sky", "Under A Funeral Moon" and "Transilvanian Hunger" is like documentary pictures. We will not use corpse-paint unless it feels real as hell, we won't only pose with it to satisfy a bunch of people.
According to early interviews AUTOPSY was a big influence on DARKTHRONE's music. Do you still like them and what is your favourite album?
One of the people I respect the most in the Metal-scene is actually Chris Reifert. That man has always been doing the real Metal that he sees fit, and everything he lays a hand on, sounds more grim and brutal than many "grim" Black Metal-bands. He doesn't compromise with his music. And I still find AUTOPSY a great act, and of course RAVENOUS!!
The music on the new album is very varied from fast to slow parts like "A Blaze". Plus the drumming is a lot more intricate than the recent past. Will you continue in this direction in the future?
Hard to say really. We don't aim for any specific when we work on a new title, it 's always some coincidences with us. But rest assured, we will demonstrate the power of Black Metal, we dare to do that even if it's 2002.
"Wreak" was my favourite song on the new album. I really loved that "cold" "Transilvanian Hunger"-style melodic riff in it. Will we see any more "cold" albums like "Under A Funeral Moon" or "Transilvanian Hunger" from DARKTHRONE in the future?
Yes, absolutely. The next album will be so cold, you'll need to drink a lot of whiskey to stay away from dying. That album will be recorded in a studio (analogue, of course) in Oslo, October 2002.
I have noticed that "Ravishing Grimness" and "Plaguewielder" had six songs on each of them. Will that be the same on the next album completing the 6-6-6-trilogy? Or is that even the plan?
No! That would have been really childish, or what???
I've noticed that you've had his head shaved at one time which seems to be a popular trend among Norwegian musicians (Ihsahn, Satyr, etc.). What caused you to cut your hair?
I don't know really, tired of having such long hair for so many years. I shaved my skull in late '96. I'm growing it back now, but that's a pain in the ass, for sure.
Everyone is dying to know, what happened to Zephyrous and what is he doing now?
This is truly delicate matters, he was about to do something really drastic to his surroundings, but I managed to keep him away from it, so he left DARKTHRONE in extreme anger. I still talk to him once in a while though.
Why did DARKTHRONE decide to go with more modern cover art for this album? Will you continue with this in the future or will it more traditional the next time around?
Next album will be professional, but in black and white. The colours on "Plaguewielder" is just coincidence. Some will always complain about something, but we of course like it.
I really liked the guitar tone on this album. Did you use any effects on the guitars? If so why and what effect did you hope to achieve?
I used a very good Marshall stereo amp, and my trusty ol' Fender with the crisp sound. Together it worked very well. It is a kind of effect on the Marshall, that's true, and I think it did the job well, thank you.
Fenriz always uses a natural drum-sound on DARKTHRONE-albums. Why is this? I prefer it over triggers, but is it hard for him to get a good drum-sound this way or is he so used to it that it's no problem at all?
Trigging is blasphemy for us. We will NEVER, EVER think of triggering our beloved drums. DARKTHRONE is a pure organic Metal-experience, and will stay that way. I'm really shaken by this question!! Off, off!
DARKTHRONE's stance has always been anti-progression. Do you feel that there was any progression on "Plaguewielder" or do you feel it's still that same old regressive Black Metal DARKTHRONE has always played?
Well, some "progression" might found the way to "Plaguewielder", after all, you can find some untraditional riffing on the album.
There have been an incredibly large amount of DARKTHRONE-bootlegs appearing in the recent past. What is your stance on bootlegs and does it bother you that they are coming out?
It bothers me to some degree, but the ones which looks great is ok. But you may see some court working in the future....hehe, not really. But usually bootlegs suck...
Do you think that merchandising is important for DARKTHRONE and is Moonfog planning anything aside from the standard CD/LP-release of "Plaguewielder"?
We will have "Plaguewielder"-lighters and stickers soon, and of course some t-shirts and hooded sweaters and so on. I really don't know the importance of this, but I think it's good to release this, promotional effect, you see?
How do you feel about people wanting to get autographs and pictures of themselves with DARKTHRONE etc. Do you hate it or do appreciate the fanfare from your fans?
When people want that from us, it's ok, because they've obviously understood what we are all about. Our Metal-friends will always be welcome to talk to us, for sure!
Is there anything which you wish to make a statement about in closing?
Well, this is very good interview, and the questions are without a doubt well thought out, and I do appreciate to answer this. Hail to the Metal-underground.
1988: A New Dimension (Demo)
1989: Thulcandra (Demo)
1989: Cromlech (Demo)
1990: Soulside Journey (CD, Peaceville)
1991: A Blaze In The Northern Sky (CD, Peaceville)
1993: Under A Funeral Moon (CD, Peaceville)
1993: Transilvanian Hunger (CD, Peaceville)
1994: Panzerfaust (CD, Peaceville)
1996: Total Death (CD)
1996: Goatlord (CD)
1999: Ravishing Grimness (CD, Moonfog)
2001: Preparing For War (CD)
2001: Plaguewielder (CD, Moonfog)
Guest-interviewer Brad Smith
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