A Blaze in the Northern Sky
This was one of the first major black metal releases. Even if Fenris keeps saying that it wasn't "true" as it had some death metal riffs on it, it is still a true Norwegian black metal cd in my book.
It begins with one of the most frightening intros in metal history, with hellish pagan sounding throat singing and then Nocturno Culto's chanting and orcish curse. This is the beginning of the ten minute "Kathaarian Life Code", and when the evil laughs of Culto over the trem picked guitars and blast beated drums start you are not surprised, just a little creeped out. "Kathaatian Life Code" is one of those classic tracks, it so perfectly sums up black metal in all its forms.
After this the rest of the record is a kind of elaboration upon the first song, black metal in different get-ups. This album reeks of atmosphere, of dark winter nights in the mountains and woods of a darker Europe.
Many complain about the production and I have to ask, why? I've heard much worse. This record has good seperation between instruments, you can hear everything that's going on, it's simply just a little more lo-fi than your Rush album, a little more punk. Someone who thinks this is bad production would have a brain fuck if they heard Ildjarn or Emperor's Wrath of the Tyrant demo.
This is such a classic black metal cd that if you are a black metal fan and have not heard it or it's more "true" (according to Fenris not I) brothers and sisters called Under a Funeral Moon and Translivanian Hunger than you have not really heard black metal. I highly suggest picking this up, particularly the new edition which features part 2 of a interview video shot by the band about each record. This may not be as fast and grim as later Darkthrone records but it's an essential disc for black metal listeners.
1: Kathaarian Life Code
2: In the Shadow of the Horns
3: Paragon Belial
4: Where Cold Winds Blow
5: A Blaze in the Northern Sky
6: The Pagan Winter
The title track begins with some trem picked guitars and blast beat drums and Culto screeching "Hear and haunting chant, Lying in the northern wind, As the sky turns black, clouds of melancholy rape the beams of a devoid dying sun, and the distant fog approaches", which I think isn't too bad poetry for a "Satanic" black metal band.
The music goes from a very fast tempo to a more doom like sound like most black metal, however I think on here it is done very well. The lyrics are very good throughout, using a surprising take on a Satanic/fantasy type of subject (reminding me of Emperor's early releases). This is a pretty complex song all in all with many changes and twists. It's a great black metal song off of a great black metal disc.