(Black Metal) Darkthrone - A Blaze In The Northern Sky
A Blaze In The Northern Sky is Darkthrone's first Black Metal album released in 1992. This album was the first of their Black Metal era, and their transition from Death to Black. It still has some Death Metal qualities (if only a few) which were basically eliminated on the following two releases.
The production of black metal in general really puts some people off. However, the production on this album should be looked at differently. When somebody new to black metal begins to listen to this album, they should remember that the best production is not always crystal clear and flawless. Everything that is happening can be clearly heard, but it is soaked in a nice layer of fuzz. The vocals are distanced from the music, the guitar tone is nice and thick, the drums pound away, and the bass fills it all out. This would probably be my number two pick for Favorite Black Metal Production (right behind Filosofem.)
To the newcomer, there is nothing wrong with this album or the production, it's just the sound of your ears losing their virginity to Black Metal.
Transylvanian Hunger is often people's introduction to the band, but in my opinion, this album is superior. Even though it doesn't bother me, i can see people getting tired of the repetition on Transylvanian Hunger. It creates a great hypnotic atmosphere, but not everyone can appreciate this. ABITNS, however, has more variation and is easier to listen to straight through.
The bass isn't very special on this album, but it is present. People complain of Black Metal not having enough bass, but it's there to fill out the sound, and it does that well on this album. It's not very prominent until you think what it would sound like with no low end at all.
The vocals on this album are a high point. The way they are soaked in reverb and distanced from the music inspired tons of black metal to come. You can hear the raw emotion and hate pouring out through each and every screech and scream, just the way it should be.
The drums get the job done, and that's what counts (Especially in BM).
This album is an absolute classic. The production is perfect for the album, and the atmosphere is also perfect. Without too much repetition, this isn't as hard to listen to as some of their later work. This album deserves a 5/5 even if just for being such a classic and influental release.
Recommended listening (My Personal Favorites):
In The Shadow of The Horns