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Norwegian Classics: Under a Funeral Moon - 91%

WinterBliss, May 21st, 2009

With this release we see Darkthrone stepping away from the rhythmically involved and more dynamic song writing of their black metal debut and see them honing in on their most recognizable sound. Under a Funeral Moon shows Darkthrone's new found adherence to the old axiom "less is more."

The production offers the guitars and vocals, as well as the cymbals in the forefront, but gone are the powerful and compelling drum production that added so much to A Blaze in the Northern Sky. The production as a whole is a bit subdued and less intense than their debut, but works nonetheless. The crackling guitar and echoing vocals maintain their prominence throughout the album, from time to time. Whilst blast beats the drums fall to the wayside and become a mere blur. While these conditions would never be ideal, they work exceedingly well to create the sound that Darkthrone has made famous.

The departure from their debut is obvious, long and structurally diverse songs like "Kathaarian Life Code" are lost. Something like " Natassja In Eternal Sleep" foreshadows their next highly revered album, "Transilvanian Hunger ." the attention and repetition of catchy and powerful riffs is the meat and potatoes of this album. Songs like aforementioned " Natassja In Eternal Sleep" and "To Walk The Infernal Fields" are completely absorbing and majestic in their simple nature, but involve enough spark behind them to avoid the tepid minimalism of their next release. What this album offers is charm, and it's got more than enough of it.

It's undeniable to cite Darkthrone's quintessential status in modern black metal, and such a status was built on albums such as this. Where ABITNS bore a resemblance to the previous bands of the first wave, Under a Funeral Moon displays a completely Darkthronesque vision of what black metal is. If a textbook were to be made in regards to black metal, surely this album would have endless citations in the bibliography.