This, my friends, is not pretty, over-produced metal. There is nothing about this album that would endear it to the public at large, no catchy choruses, obvious hooks, or even much in the way of variation. But that’s the point. This is black metal played as nihilistic stream-of-consciousness ambient music, and not surprising, an album held up as a monument of the genre. Hypnotic, minimal riffs repeat and fold back upon themselves only to be quoted later, the drumming is the same punk-based blasting throughout the album, and the vocals sound like mean-spirited chain-smoking demon. There is nothing normative or pretty about the sound, everything is red-lining and raw, a refreshingly unique sound compared to the rampant digitalism and Pro-Tools of modern metal production. All of the musical elements, rudimentary though they are, add up to much more than the sum of their parts. Amidst the seemingly amateurish racket, there are leitmotifs, overarching patterns, and most importantly, a singular vision. The combination of minimalism and lo-fi creates an almost orchestral atmosphere; the albums functions as a self-contained world. Black metal thrives on convincing atmosphere, “Transilvanian Hunger” has this in spades. Darkthrone succeed here because they took the very foundations of extreme rock; namely the incoherent vocals, non-existent production, barely adept guitar and trashcan drums found in everything from garage bands to hardcore to black metal, and created a buzzing, bleak symphony. In many ways, this represents the apex, or at least one of them, or black metal. If you like your metal to be generic, uninspired or mediocre, look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you like honest, raw, real metal music, you’ve found it.
2003 remastered reissue of the Norwegian black metal act’s 1994 album is pressed onto an enhanced disc featuring an exclusive interview with the band (Chapter 4), packaged in a digipak. 8 tracks. Peaceville.
Forum Topics See All →
There are no active forum topics for this Metal Album
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
I’d heard about Darkthrone and since I quite like some black metal I figured they would be a band worth looking at. If someone had told me before I bought this album that it was straight up speed with intentionally poor production I’d have probably passed it up. My taste in black metal these days tends to be bands like Ulver or Burzum who create epic soundscapes with synths, acoustic guitars and even some clean vocals whilst still maintaining the traditional black metal sound of gritty distorted guitars and screaching vocals. However, its a very good thing I took a chance with this album because although I hate the notion of bands who are “true”, its Darkthrone’s “trueness” that makes this album work.For starters, there is something here that cannot be obtained through a proper studio recording – atmosphere. In true black metal style, the album was recorded on a 4 track. A mere 1 track for the drums. However, this dirty and ridiculously minimalistic, uh… approach to recording has left Transylvanian Hunger sounding dark, viscious, cold and, dare I say it, evil. Its something alot of bands have attempted to mimic, but came off sounding like a bunch of goons in a garage trying to be ‘true’ (which is somewhat bizarrely accurate).If this minimalist recording wasn’t enough, take a look at the minimalist playing. No synths. No acoustic guitars. Little breakdowns. No solos. Most of these songs don’t even have a proper introduction. The music is straight-ahead, no-holds-barred black metal.Those of you looking for something with subtlety, sophistication, catchyness or melody go elsewhere. This is black metal at its coldest, darkest most extreme level, yet done well enough to carry it off. Not essential listening in my opinion (though I’m sure others will disagree), but well worth a look.
I don’t know what the idiot’s below problem is by recommending this album to old mans child fans or cradle of clowns. It seems like he didn’t take his medication this morning. T.H. album is not mellodic, not fancy, fashionable or any nonsense like that. It is pure in it’s coldness and hate. This album will only appeal to few and that’s the way Darkthrone likes it.
This is BM in its rawest and most evil form. If you were to enter the gates of hell I’m pretty sure that Transylvanian Hunger would be the music of choice. The production is intentionally bad and the songs are just plain raw and I mean raw. When I listen to Emperor, Mayhem and Burzum I can hear melodies and song structure but this album is straightforward and lacks any melodies. It’s just Euronymous-style necro-riffing with Dead-like vokills and repitition of that. The riffs you hear within the first 10 seconds are repeated throughout the entire song and the drum beats are carried on in the same manner. It’s basically the blueprint for true raw black metal. Some songs end abruptly or seem cut-off to add to the dark atmosphere. Nocturno Culto has the best black metal voice since Dead and still carries that today. The first four songs were written by Fenriz and the next four songs were written by Count Grishnackh. If there were anything darker than black metal this album would classify for that because this is absolutely primitive and sick music. Transylvanian Hunger could very well be the darkest black metal album of all time with Mayhem’s “Live In Leipzig” a close second along with Dark Funeral’s “Secret Of The Black Arts” and Burzum’s “Aske”. This is a true black metal classic album and 10 years on it still has no darker rival.
I approached this album somewhat skeptically. I had already purchased ‘A Blaze in the Northern Sky’ and ‘Under a Funeral Moon’ on the recommendations of others and found it hard for me to really get into those releases. That’s not to say I find them bad albums, not at all, just difficult albums. Well after reading all of the mixed reviews for this album I finally decided to hear it for myself. And boy am I glad I did. Personally I didn’t find the raw, underproduced sound of the album at all grating. In fact I feel that it is absolutely essential to the hazy atmosphere of the album and just as necessary a component as the music itself. The music itself as others have said is very simple and repepitive. The point of this album (I think) is not to dazzle the listener with technical multipart songs, but through the atmosphere and repepitive minimalistic quality of the music to bring the listener to a hypnotic state. I think many of the criticisms of this album are misplaced because they are expecting it to be something it has no intention of being or simply the reviewers cannot appreciate what it is the band is going for here. If you read any of my other reviews you know that I am far from a black metal elitist (I like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir). In fact I find the whole black metal elistist mentality utterly absurd. Nevertheless this album stands on the weight of its own integrity aside from how troo, cvlt and grim it may be. Get it.