Label: Peaceville Records
Released 26 years and a day ago, A Blaze in the Northern Sky is a pivotal album for Darkthrone, and black metal as a whole. It saw the band shed their death metal skin, evolving (or regressing, depending on your point of view) in to the black metal beast that made them their name. Even now, A Blaze… stands up as an incredibly strong album, with its long, captivating songs, and aura of raw cold; but there’s also something more, a feeling of hatred and isolation that few albums have matched since.
The ominous chanting and drones that see in ‘Kathaarian Life Code’ remain an example of how to do a black metal track right, building the proper atmosphere and anticipation, making the raw black metal all the more effective when it kicks in. There’s a wonderful balance between nihilstic, drawn-out passages and up-tempo, rocking moments. And, perhaps best of all, there’s that moment during ‘In The Shadow of the Horns’ when Fenriz shouts out “Nocturno Culto!” just before his vocals start.