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Under a Funeral Moon
By Darkthrone
1993 Peaceville Records

Released in 1993, but written from 1991 through to 1992 and then recorded in 1993, Under a Funeral Moon is either considered Darkthrone's best, or a "middle" record, between two ground-breaking records. Darkthrone themselves seem to be quite proud of this, saying that it is 100% BLACK METAL, nothing less, and nothing more. This is grim stuff, and like they say, not one riff is based in death metal. The thing that strikes me is this, that Darkthrone were really doing this to honour their idols, bands like Bathory, Slayer, Sodom and Vader, and also I think a bit of Mayhem. However, they blend these tributes with their own signiture sound, creating something that is fully the "new" true black metal, and also a tribute to past BM bands.

The production is the classic grim sound, little reverb on the guitars, which are left with a transistor distortion sound, much reverb on the vocals and drums, which makes both sound like they were recorded in the bowls of hell. Bass is present in the sound, distorted as well, to create a solid base of sound, just like a bass should do. However, unlike on Mayhem's releases, where the bass is almost like a melodic element, both under and above the music, on here it drives the music, is just as dirty and nasty and primitive as the guitars or drums. Riffs are not as primitive as one A Blaze in the Northern Sky, instead opting for more melody in their attack. However, the melody is attacked with a primitive sound that is pure Darkthrone. These are players who are really excellent musicians, purposely playing in a primitive way, to create a dark feeling. The song "Unholy Black Metal" is pure Bathory in many ways. The way the lyrics are, and words like "pearly gates" which come out fully to your ears, all of this is pure Quorthon. However, Darkthrone still keeps their own sound. This is more like a tribute to Bathory then a rip-off.

These guys were really into being evil and grim, and being in the feeling of Black Metal, if not the scene. As Fenriz states in the video that is on the disc, Nocturno Culto and Zephyrous each went out to places in the wilderness to escape the "scene" around Helvete after these sessions. To them, and to Fenriz, Black Metal was about an attitude and feeling, not a scene. This shows in all of their releases. Under a Funeral Moon is neither their best, nor their worst, nor their most middleing. It is just as good as A Blaze in the Northern Sky or Transilvanian Hunger, and rightly belongs in any black metal fans collection. I think it balances perfectly the punk attack of A Blaze in the Northern Sky, and the dark, personal melodicism of Transilvanian Hunger. However all three are essential to any black metal fans collection. These are amazing releases, and quite possibly, next to Emperor's In the Nightside Eclipse and Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas my favorite first generation second wave black metal albums. Essential essential essential.

Track Listing:
1: Natassia In eternal Sleep
2: Summer of the Diabolical holocaust
3: The Dance of Eternal Shadows
4: Unholy Black Metal
5: To Walk the Infernal Fields
6: Under a Funeral Moon
7: Inn I De Dype Skogers Faun
8: Crossing the Triangle of Flames

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