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Great introduction - 96%

StillDeath, March 17th, 2004

First off I need to say that this is my first Black Metal cd. I will focus on the BM songs here mostly as they were my primary interest. Part of me expected an overwhelming assault on my senses, after hearing Marduk and random black metal from mp3’s. When putting this on for the first time, I found that the music is very non-intrusive. The music is quiet and from first listening sounds like the raindrops hitting the ground in the background or a howling blizzard.

After repeated listening, patterns emerge. The music sounds primitive, with several disjointed riffs that can be described as hypnotizing and trance inducing. The drums are fast and monotone on some tracks, but because they are in the background they don’t cause too much irritation. The evil croaking vocals appear out of nowhere. Each section paints another part of the picture. Some tracks start mid riff and are cut short at the end. Oops, someone pulled the plug.

Tracks vary in recording volume and between Death and Black metal. It all comes together as one amazing trip.

If you get lost in the trance, you see several images pass you by.
Sunless world. All life frozen over. Shadows in the forest. A small town from another time. Wooden houses. A small cemetery in the twilight. Descent into the grave. Funeral march. Eternal winter. It is not easy to keep track of time when listening to this. Listen to it yourself, turn off the lights, put the headphones on and you will see it for yourself.

Now, as for Death metal it is just a great listen as well. This is not a band that needs to prove how brutal they can be. Headbangable riffs, solid playing, no “what the fuck was that” moments. Everything is easy on the ears, even though it is crammed to the brim, you will wish this cd was twice as long. The effect is quite uplifting and addictive. Also, the tell-tale sign of a good piece of art is multiple interpretations; well this one passes that test with flying colors.

As for the content it covers 1988 and 1989 demos, first 4 LPs, two live performances recorded in 1989 and two unreleased tracks, if I got my math right. The recording quality is universally bad, which is not a bad thing in this case, as I cannot see music being this good otherwise.

If I had to choose a favourite, then Transilvanian Hunger tracks are the ones that sound with most potency to me.

This is a great way to get into Darkthrone, or you can get it for unreleased and hard to get stuff.