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one of the most influential albums in black metal - 100%

namelessheretic, January 13th, 2006

Production: Emphasis on guitars and vocals; drums almost drowned in mix while bass is audible but not overbearing.

Genre` defining album that, along with "Transilvanian Hunger", established Darkthrone as one of the most influential bands in black metal history. There is little doubt that this album alone sparked the creation of countless copy-cat bands that continues to this day. There is so much magic and energy in this release that it naturally motivates people to want to be this amazing. It is after this album's release(not initially though; it was mocked and hated when first released) that so many musicians said, "I want to be like this".

Stripping away all finesse and going straight for the throat, Darkthrone abandons all acknowledgement that nothing other than a nihilistic approach matters when making music in today's world. With "A Blaze in the Northern Sky" they boldly stepped out of the box; with "Under a Funeral Moon" Darkthrone blazed again, even more so in creating a new path that so many others have tried to follow.

Guitars are pushed to the front, with every song formed around minimalist motif riffs. Atonal aggression is expressed through a super quick picking technique that occasionally slows down to catch it's breath. Guitar tone is flavored with a vibrant, harsh, buzz saw sound that is fueled by adrenalin.

Vocals are just as harsh, and in many ways just as buzz saw sounding as the guitars. The difference is the vocals come across as more rhythmic than the melodies of the guitar motifs. Both though put an exclamation point on the emphasis of highly motivated evil.

Fenriz puts to use his now signature drumming style; blasting away in the background, cleverly forcing each song to run straight ahead, no matter what the melodies are doing, although at times the melodies do run faster than the rhythms. The point is this: drumming here is not ego driven flair and showmanship; it is a tool used to make the song better achieve it's goal of supremacy and annihilation of the weak.

At the time of this album's creation, the interaction between the drums and guitars expressed here was so very unique. Never before had such a talented metal drummer put his skills into promoting the importance of the melodies, forcing the riffs to dominate the structure and direction of each song.

Bass is not made to dominant, and never has with Darkthrone, but with this album it is important to note how it gives each melody extra force with it's distorted lower end frequencies.

Darkthrone had such a drive, an ambition to take this concept of black metal and utilize it for no other reason than to piss on every single thing that the music community considered untouchable, and to cast aside the crowd so something genuine with real thought could return to metal.

All in all this album is flawless. Even with the focus on speed, there are enough breakdowns and tempo changes to keep this work interesting from beginning to end. This extremely intense piece of art shows how Darkthrone became one of a small group of trailblazers that created a new aesthetic and approach to music that hadn't really been seen before. A masterpiece that tops most masterpieces, and one of the most influential albums in all black metal.