Review Summary: Then is fulfilled Hlin's second sorrow, when Odin goes to fight with the wolf...
There was a time, when my family was still an approximation of a family, when we would drive for miles at night, seeking elevation and seclusion, far from artificial lights, to watch the sky. It only takes one time of really paying attention to the millions of stars and the width of black space to feel a smallness that you never quite escape. But there is also a lightness that comes with it, because you know that the endless expanse of the universe will not swallow you whole, and that even though nothing you could ever do will matter in relation to how tiny you really are, that smallness is shared with everyone else on the planet. Alone on a hilltop, you feel connected.
Black metal, in a way, has always been about communication with nature, both in a literal forest-and-rivers sense, and in that it really digs into the bones of the human experience. A Blaze In The Northern Sky
, for how buried it is in mysticism and cultic imagery, is really an album about naturalism. The forces of nature – and this includes things like Chaos and Time – are essentially all that exist because they are endless; can a seventy- or eighty-year human life really be considered existence in the face of eternity? Darkthrone revels in answering that question with a “no.” This album is triumphant, declaring war against phony high-mindedness, decrying the artificial and placing the natural on a pedestal. The frozen production and guttural screams are simply the purest image of how the world really is: perpetually marching toward the lonely end. But, like all good metal albums, there is also a sense of community to the album, a glimpse of the movement that was taking place in the 90s, when metal musicians were taking music back to its roots – not in sound but in ideology, when music was a natural extension of self, when it was an opera of primal energy.
“We are a blaze in the northern sky; the next thousand years are ours.” I remember that first time I looked up at the sky in the country. When I left I was newly meaningless, and I went back home and I waited for the world to fill up with fire or ice or wolves with skyscraper teeth, tearing apart the night and turning us into light again.