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A Blaze in the Northern Sky

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(16 Reviews)

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2003 reissue of the Scandinavian dark metal act’s 1992 album features six tracks plus an exclusive multimedia enhanced interview with the band (Chapter 2), packaged in a digipak. Peaceville.

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  • 4.5 stars.

    Darkthrone’s “Blaze in the Northern Sky” is definitely one of the original classics of the Norweigen Black Metal movement, and what it occasionally lacks in musical value it makes up in atmosphere and sheer attitude.

    This album’s frantic pace and pure malevolency, combined with Mayhem-signature-style black metal riffing remind me of a blizzard, an army of the dark marching, snowy landscapes, mountains, with an authenticity that’s only found in black metal albums from about 1990-94.

    The intro is very good and atmospheric, very black metal. A friend of mine said it scared the crap out of them.

    “Kathaarian Life Code” is strangely enough the reason why I don’t give this album a perfect rating. I look at other reviews and see them calling ‘the most majestic black metal song’ and such, but I just don’t see anything melodically interesting in it (aside from maybe the ending riff). The slow pace also deflates the intensity.

    “In the Shadow of the Horns” is a brilliant song, and surprised me a lot after not being too impressed with the first track. The ending section is one of the most unique, disturbingly perfect pieces of music I’ve heard. Peaceful but in an almost destructive sense, like finding solace in violence, and all the while with a blast beat behind it. Dissonant as hell, too… these chords really SHOULDN’T work.

    “Paragon Belial” has the most WICKED black metal riff ever. Some fantastic harmonizing too. Another intense and violent song.

    “Where Cold Winds Blow” is kind of Emperor-esque, continues with the intensity and darkness.

    “A Blaze in the Northern Sky” is dogmatic and fascist. “The next 1000 years… ARE OURS!!!” followed by an absolutely amazing scream.

    “Pagan Winter” Another great song in the same vein.

    A black metal classic. Very worth your time.

    Posted on November 16, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Classic black metal. That’s what this is. What more can be said? If you like black metal you probably have this album. If you don’t have it, I would recommend it. This was my first “true” black metal album. I had some Dimmu Borgir before this and I’d probably consider them black metal. Instrumentally, they’re possibly a little too complex for the genre, but the overall atmosphere and the lyrical content is pretty in line. I also had some Venom, but this is the first album I got that was really black metal in it’s mature form. Anywho, this album is cold as hell. You can tell that it was recorded more cleanly than later albums, but they still manage to capture that heartless, misanthropic spirit. And that is the essence of black metal for me. Get this album if you like this kind of music.

    Posted on November 16, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • 4.5 stars. I was at [website] many months back looking for Black Metal and Darkthrone popped up. At the time, that website offered up suggestions for which particular album to buy for each particular artist. They suggested Darkthrone’s “Soulside Journey” as a first purchase. I got it in the mail and I was enthusiastic after so many glowing fan reviews here for all the Darkthrone albums. I was summarily disappointed with the album. It sounded like generic Death Metal with Thrash tendencies and muddy production. In a phrase, “It was boring.” Recently, I decided to give these guys a second chance and bought one of their albums based on what I’ve seen here on so many Listmania lists. The album I chose was “A Blaze in the Northern Sky.” Now I know what all the fans have been screaming about. I read a review here calling this album Punk Black Metal, and I think that fits magnificently. They have all the darkness of true Black Metal mixed with Punk attitude, and the amalgamation is excellent. This is incredibly sinister and grim, with memorable riffs and eerie atmoshpere. What these guys lack in complexity they make up for with crushing riffs and visceral attitude. My favorite songs include “Paragon Belial,” which sounds plain evil, and the title track. I want to say one last thing before ending my review. I just want to thank all the Black Metal fans here for supporting this band so vehemently via “Listmania.” If you hadn’t I may never have given the mighty Darkthrone a second chance. Thank you.

    Posted on November 16, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Words cannot express the chilling, unsafe feeling you get when listening to this album. “This is the true face of evil!!!” I’ve had this one for a couple years now and I’ve listened to it extensively. What I like most about this album is the variety of influences. You’ll find various punk influences as you will with all Darkthrone albums. That’s definately a plus. What’s also cool is their ability to break down into these evil grooves. They’ll slow it down every once in a while, then speed back up into an onslaught of cold, evil, blast beat ridden Black metal. There is also some randomness to there art. For instance, their guitar solos are indecipherable. They are picked so fast that you can’t tell what they’re doing or if they’re even in key. That matters very little, however, due to the fact that you’ll find yourself in a very dark and evil place while listening to this stuff. Cold, dark and unrelentless, that’s Black metal for you!

    Posted on November 15, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • What can be said about this monumental release? Even though there are some Death Metal traces (according to drummer/lyricist Fenriz) this album is one of the most important albums in Black Metal history. Not only did it basically define True Norwegian Black Metal, it also holds up to be one of the strongest albums to date. Starting off with haunting chants and whispers, Kathaarian Life Code opens up A Blaze In The Northern Sky as a true Black Metal opus. Although some may disagree, I think this is one of the most majestic Black Metal songs to appear on record. The atmosphere of Kathaarian Life Code is very cold yet comforting, bringing you to a very relaxed state. It’s a difficult experience to describe but anyone who enjoys quality Black Metal will know what I speak of … it’s surreal and Darkthrone certainly delivers. The entire album is a testament to True Black Metal. From the mid-paced epic In The Shadow Of The Horns to the blasting Where Cold Winds Blow, this album is flawless in terms of Black Metal. I cannot go without mentioning The Pagan Winter or the fantastic title-cut since both tracks truly define the now over-crowded genre. To sum this review up, this album is a perfect album in all aspects. It defined a genre, it spawned hundreds upon hundreds of Black Metal acts as well as living up to be one of the genre’s best albums. Your collection is not complete without this album.

    Posted on November 15, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now