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Back To The Frostland Basics - 99%

TheEndIsNigh, March 8th, 2012

I'm a particularly big fan of old school extreme metal demos. Darkthrone's entire demo output is no exception. Their initial demo, Land Of Frost, is one I find, despite the horrible quality, a perfect introduction to their death metal material for those who know the band only for their black metal releases.

Back in that wonderful year of 1988, when death metal and grindcore were both already established quite well, little was known about the bands that were forming in Norway. Among them were Mayhem, who was already established in the country, Burzum was just getting underway, and then there was Darkthrone, a band who had formed the year before. The next year, they would cough up a demo that would spark their amazingly influential career.

The demo kicks off with some static-drenched wind and some kind of monster growling. It then kicks off into a brutal death metal riff, complete with blast beats and demonic vocals that have an atmospheric delay effect to them. And that is just the first song. All the songs are extreme and contain these attributes. It appears Nocturno Culto wasn't even in the band at the time, making drummer Fenriz the only original member on this release, but that doesn't hinder the overall musical quality. Their are some of the most impressive riffs I've ever heard, switching between violent amounts of distortion and eerie clean sounds, and the fact that the song titles and the artwork of the demo cases are seriously awesome is just a bonus. And although the quality is completely wretched, it too, like so many lo-fi releases, adds to the overall heaviness of the demo.

I absolutely adore this release. It's a perfect introduction to the origins of early Norwegian black metal. It's also a reminder that these bands weren't always black metal, with their roots and beginnings buried so deep within death metal. It's also a must-have for anyone interested in the origins of Darkthrone.