Darkthrone (initially called Black Death) is a Norwegian Black Metal group formed in 1986.

In 1991, the band adopted the Black Metal style influenced by Bathory and Celtic Frost, being one of the leading bands of the Norwegian Black metal movement. Their first three Black Metal albums — “A” Blaze in the Northern Sky”, “Under a Funeral Moon”, and “Transilvanian Hunger” (sometimes nicknamed “Unholy Trinity”) — are considered the pinnacle of the band’s career and are among the most influential of the genre.
Since 1993, Darkthrone has been a duet of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto, who have sought to remain outside mainstream music. Recently, the band has incorporated traditional Heavy Metal, Speed Metal and Punk Rock elements into their albums.

The name Darkthrone was inspired by a zine produced in Denmark around 1986 entitled Blackthorn, directed by members of the musical group Desexult, who were inspired by the song “Jewel Throne” by the band Celtic Frost.

There is a musical group from the Netherlands from 1989 called Malignant with a similar logo. In the booklet of the albums Soulside Journey and A Blaze In The Northern Sky, the creation credits go to Fenriz, Tassilo and Tomas Lindberg (from the band At The Gates). In a 1992 interview, Fenriz states that he and Tomas Lindberg created the logo years earlier and that the band Malignant probably copied Darkthrone.

Early years (1986-1991)

The Norwegian group was formed at the end of 1986 in Kolbotn, a small suburb of Oslo. They were a Death Metal band called Black Death, consisting of members Gylve Nagell, Ivar Enger, and Anders Risberget. They recorded two demo tapes in 1987: the first, called “Trash Core”, has Anders Risberget playing the guitar and Gylve Nagell playing drums and singing; the second demonstration, released on October 12th, called “Black Is Beautiful”, already had a new member and guitarist, Ivar Enger. The two demos were released without distribution by any record label.

The trio changed its name to Darkthrone in 1987, and bassist Dag Nilsen now participates in the group.
Gylve Nagell says that inspiration comes from bands like Venom, Celtic Frost, Slayer, Cryptic Slaughter, Deep Purple, Nihilist, Metallica, English Dogs, Crumbsuckers and Thrash Metal groups.
In addition to these influences on the early days of Darkthrone, Fenriz also mentions the Brazilian band Sepultura with the albums Bestial Devastation (from 1985), Morbid Visions (from 1986) and Schizophrenia (from 1987). A year later, until then, guitarist Anders Risberget left the band but still participated in the recording of three songs from the band’s first demonstration using the name Darkthrone, 1988’s “Land Of Frost”.

Gylve Nagell wanted to take Darkthrone more seriously. Through a colleague who studied guitar, he met Ted Skjellum. After Anders Risberget permanently left Darkthrone, Ted Skjellum was invited to the group.
On July 6, 1988, a promotional tape was released containing the instrumental song “Snowfall”, which has a greater tendency towards Thrash Metal.
In 1989, the third recording was called Thulcandra, and now Ted Skjellum already sings for Darkthrone, in addition to playing guitar. Shortly afterwards, a fourth demonstration titled Cromlech came out, and soon after, Darkthrone finally signed a contract with a record label. In this case, the British Peaceville.

In the European autumn of 1990, they began writing the work that would be called Goatlord. They continued playing Death Metal, but mostly listened to black metal like Bathory, except for bassist Dag Nilsen, who was more interested in bands like Autopsy and continuing to play technical death metal. Several live performances had been made, and the Norwegian band Cadaver even shared the stage with them. It was in the same year that Darkthrone recorded their first CD called Soulside Journey at the Sunlight studio in Sweden with the help of members of the band Nihilist, but it was only released in January 1991. With a crystal clear production, the album demonstrated a death metal of technical form. In 1991, the album Goatlord was recorded. However, the quartet decided not to release it due to the change in their musical style.

Soon later, Darkthrone would adopt Black Metal aesthetics with corpse paint and the use of a pseudonym. Gylve Nagell became Fenriz (a wolf from Norse mythology), who used corpse paint inspired by the Brazilian band Sarcófágo, Ivar Enger became Zephyrous, and Ted Skjellum became identified as Nocturno Culto. Darkthrone plays three concerts in Finland with the trio Fenriz, Nocturno Culto and Zephyrous using corpse paint. Afterwards, bassist Dag Nilsen left the band but still participated in the bass recording on the album A Blaze In The Northern Sky, which would mark the beginning of a new era of Darkthrone: the Black Metal phase.

In January 2006, it was the year that they released the twelfth CD of their career, “The Cult Is Alive”.
The album presents a change in sound style, incorporating traces of crust punk.
For the first time in Darkthrone’s career, they decided to produce a music video, with the song “Too Old, Too Cold” being chosen. But a month before the release of this CD, the band released an EP entitled “Too Old, Too Cold” with a cover that surprised many people by the band Siouxsie And The Banshees (song Love In A Void).
After the release of the CD “The Cult Is Alive”, the duo released a single again with another cover. This time it was from a punk rock band called Testors, which Fenriz sang on the re-recorded version. “The Cult Is Alive” was also Darkthrone’s first album to reach the Norwegian music charts, debuting at 22nd place.

A year later, in July 2007, the Norwegian duo released another EP, which came a few months before the next and thirteenth full CD, with the curious title of “NWOBHM”, whose meaning in this case is “New Wave Of Black Heavy Metal”. The song “Wisdom Of The Dead” appears on both this EP and the CD, which was named “F.O.A.D”. (an acronym for Fuck Off And Die), but only with different recordings, showing a clear difference in the vocal lines.
“F.O.A.D”, the thirteenth album in the duo’s career (released in September 2007), contains a song called Canadian Metal, which is a small tribute that Darkthrone paid to Canadian groups such as Piledriver, Voivod, Razor, Rush, etc. The album continued the Heavy Metal/punk sound in the band’s style.

In February 2008, Nocturno Culto revealed that four new songs were already ready for the new release, which will be called Dark Thrones And Black Flags.

In 2010, the band released the album Circle the Wagons, which again mixes crust punk with speed metal and traditional heavy metal.

At the end of 2010, Peaceville acquired the rights to the band’s albums published by Moonfog and reissued Panzerfaust on double disc and vinyl. The reissue of Total Death took place on March 14, 2011. In July 2012, Darkthrone announced a new album titled “The Underground Resistance”. The launch took place on February 25, 2013.

After recording in 2015, the band is preparing to release their new album, called Arctic Thunder, on October 14, 2016

Since 2010

In late 2010, Peaceville acquired the rights to the band’s Moonfog albums and re-issued Panzerfaust as a two-disc set and on vinyl. The re-issue of “Total Death” was set for 14 March 2011. In July 2012, Darkthrone announced a new album, The Underground Resistance, released on 25 February 2013. That album saw the band completely shift away from black metal and blackened crust and is musically a throwback to classic heavy metal and speed metal. The band released their 16th studio album, titled Arctic Thunder, on 14 October 2016; it represented another drastic musical shift for the band, with the album featuring a rawer, more blackened sound, reminiscent of their 90’s output but with the classic metal leanings of the previous record.

On 22 October 2016, the band revealed via Facebook that they would be issuing a compilation album entitled “The Wind of 666 Black Hearts”. The album, released on 25 November 2016, is composed of rehearsals recorded in 1991 and 1992 for songs which later appeared on A Blaze in the Northern Sky and Under a Funeral Moon.

Darkthrone announced in March 2019 that they would be releasing their seventeenth studio album, Old Star, which was released on 31 May of the same year. It featured much stronger doom metal characteristics than previous albums, with their Candlemass influences more apparent. The band announced that they had completed recording a new album in January 2021. In April 2021, a box set containing early and rare material entitled Shadows of Iconoclasm was unveiled. The band’s eighteenth studio album Eternal Hails…… was released on 25 June 2021 through Peaceville Records on physical media and digital platforms. Musically, the album continues the band’s incorporation of traditional doom metal, strongly influenced by Candlemass from the previous record, with heavy inspiration from other bands like Trouble and Black Sabbath. The band’s nineteenth album, Astral Fortress, was released on the 28th of October, 2022.

Current Members

Fenriz (Gylve Fenris Nagell) – drums, guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals, lyrics (1986–present)
Nocturno Culto (Ted Skjellum) – vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, lyrics (1988–present)

Dag Nilsen – bass (1988–1991)
Zephyrous (Ivar Enger) – guitar (1987–1993)
Anders Risberget – guitar (1986–1988)

1991 Soulside Journey: The band’s only Death Metal Studio Album.
1992 A Blaze in the Northern Sky was Recorded in August 1991 and released in February 1992.
1993 Under a Funeral Moon was Recorded in June 1992 and released in June 1993.
1994 Transilvanian Hunger was Recorded in November–December 1993, with vocals added early in 1994. Released in February
Featured four songs with lyrics written by Varg Vikernes.
1995 Panzerfaust was Recorded in February–April 1994 and released in June 1995.
Featured one song with lyrics written by Varg Vikernes.
1996 Total Death Featured lyrics written by four guests from other Black Metal bands.
1996 Goatlord Instrumental rehearsal demo; recorded in late 1990 and early 1991 and released on CD as an album by Moonfog
1999 Ravishing Grimness
2001 Plaguewielder
2003 Hate Them
2004 Sardonic Wrath
2006 The Cult Is Alive Represented a shift in their style with traits of crust punk.
2007 F.O.A.D.
2008 Dark Thrones and Black Flags
2010 Circle the Wagons
2013 The Underground Resistance
NOR No. 23
SWE No. 50
2016 Arctic Thunder
2019 Old Star
2021 Eternal Hail
2022 Astral Fortress