Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fenriz Collection: 1996-2004

Inspired by my interview with Fenriz of Darkthrone, I put together of all the tracks from Darkthrone's "middle period" that were penned by Fenriz. After Panzerfaust, Darkthrone entered something of a mid-career lull. While many fans stick to some iteration of the first five records, these Moonfog albums should not be ignored. Part of the reason for the creative downturn is the shifting of much of the songwriting duties from Fenriz to Nocturno Culto. Not that Nocturno doesn't have his moments, ("Rust" from Hate Them) but many of his compositions drag and his melodic sensibility is just a little bit too obvious sometimes, especially given the volume of bands out there tremolo-picking various minor chords.

During this period, Fenriz shifted his composition style away from the hypnotic tremolo-picked melodies that defined Transilvanian Hunger into a much more punkish interpretation of his oft-cited influences: Bathory, Celtic Frost & Hellhammer. This stuff isn't "black metal" in the 90s interpretation of the term that Darkthrone helped create. This is regressive 80s metal. Every Fenriz riff has its own sense of conflict and resolution within itself, and, while strumming patterns are often primitive and repetitive, the melodies create a sense of rhythm.

Some of Darkthrone's middle albums can seem disorganized and boring, but, presenting only Fenriz's tracks creates a much more focused vision. If you haven't paid attention to this stuff before, you're in for a huge treat.

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