February 26, 2016 marked the 24th anniversary of Darkthrone‘s landmark second album A Blaze In The Northern Sky. It is a release that many see as a pivotal moment in the beginning of black metal’s second wave.
Unfortunately, the band’s label Peaceville Records and the band’s bass player did not see it that way at the time. The album marked a sudden stylistic shift to black metal with only traces of the death metal that the band had been previously known for. Bassist Dag Nilsen was not happy with the musical direction the band was taking and quit the band over it. He did agree to record the bass parts for the record though and is credited as a guest musician. The label had a less understanding reaction to the unannounced musical shift. Though the album was recorded early in 1991 it would not see the light of day until 1992 after a prolonged dispute over the mix, which Peaceville wanted to “clean up.” The lo-fi sound of the album would eventually stand and the rest is history.
A Blaze In The Northern Sky would be the first release in Darkthrone’s “Unholy Trinity” of albums, to be followed by 1993’s Under A Funeral Moon and 1994’s Transilvanian Hunger. Rarely is a “best of black metal” list published that does not include at least one of those three records.
Today’s Black Metal Friday feature is the title track from Blaze In The Northern Sky. I strongly urge you to check out the rest of the record and, for that matter, the entire, widely stylistic Darkthrone catalog.