September 22, 2017

Darkthrone - Thulcandra (1989)

Darkthrone recorded Thulcandra when they were still a death metal band. The group didn't really have the black metal aesthetic in their head yet and weren't purposefully thinning out and coating their music with lo-fi iciness at this point, so the recording is pretty listenable. Of course that's compared to other 80s and early 90s black metal demos, so it still has a general D-I-Y vibe. The quartet exercises some impressive coordination on the riffing and tempo changes; even more impressive when you take into account that they were most likely recorded altogether in a household room. The guitars sound downtuned for a gloomier and sludgier sound--typical of death metal, but the band steers away from the technical sound heard on many of the most well known albums in the style. The riffs and compositions absolutely rule--the second riff on the title track is seriously one of the deadliest I've heard in the genre. I would guess that Fenriz was the vocalist this early in Darkthrone's history (Nocturno Culto sings for all of the Unholy Trilogy); he's not particularly incredible, but this demo is mostly an instrumental/compositional showcase to begin with, so it doesn't get in the way. Thulcandra should be on your list to check out if you're a Darkthrone fan--shit, even if you've never heard one of their more popular albums, it's worth investigating if you've got 15 minutes to spare.