Darkthrone
Under a Funeral Moon


5.0
classic

Review

by B R A N D O N S C O T T CONTRIBUTOR (134 Reviews)
February 9th, 2016 | 137 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: even then most barren landscapes look divine in the moonlight

Today I'm traveling by train from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Albany, New York. For those of you who don't know, these two states are a particularly scenic part of the country, especially this time of year. Dressed in the snowy leftovers of the season, as the train passes through the woodlands of my home state I can't help but be entranced by the natural beauty of this sight. The barren trees, the deep browns and golds of the leaves that cover the ground, and the scattered remains of our most recent blizzard all stand to amaze. It's death in its most ravishing form. The isolation of travel makes it all the more poignant; though surrounded by dozens of people, there is nary a sound to be heard. Each passenger exists only in their own little world, distracted by the technology that seems to be slowly choking humankind in a growing tangle of circuits and wires.

I have the most intense urge to listen to black metal; the setting demands it. I NEED to listen to Under a Funeral Moon. In this moment, I feel so connected to the scene the birthed this classic record - surrounded by the beauty of devastated nature and eerie seclusion - and there is no better portrayal of it than Under A Funeral Moon. It's a microcosm of black metal, the unparalleled representation of everything the genre strove to be then, and what it still aspires to today. "I stand alone in a valley filled with starlight, my eyes suffer from eternal sparks. So shut the lids and dream so I can see the trident clearer than ever now" Nocturno Culto rasps in "Summer of the Diabolical Holocaust". Though written over twenty years ago, that line is as affecting now as it was then; loneliness is eternal. Under A Funeral Moon encapsulates this sentiment in many subtle ways. Though the guitars, drums, and vocals all exist at once, they feel so separate from each other; each instrument exists only in their own little world.

The rigid minimalism the album ascribes to is drenched in lunar mysticism; even the most barren landscapes look divine in the moonlight. Throughout the primitively pummeling tracks of "Dance of Eternal Shadows" and "Under A Funeral Moon", not even the simplistic black metal battering can belie the sense of wonder that inhabits this record. The ragged production transports you somewhere otherworldly, where the seductive whisper of the bass eases you into this far-off realm of wintry static, sinister beauty, and dark intentions. Under A Funeral Moon is a dominion of its own, a separate universe where the pariahs of our world go to dwell in contented seclusion.

This is Darkthrone at their most effortlessly black metal. It didn't subscribe to the standards -minimalism, repetition, atmosphere - but rather it established them. Though they would go on the push the genre to new extremes with its successor, this set the template for what black metal perfection should song like; its almost as if Under a Funeral Moon was written by the essence of black metal itself. Though now I exit the train and re-acclimate myself to this world of the living and technology, I know that Under A Funeral Moon will always be waiting for me to visit again, an escape only befitting of my darkest hours.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2016


20842 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I really tried to capture the essence of this album, while also adequately describing its sound, and importance. Let me know if I did. Constructive criticism welcome of course.

Digging: The Veils - Total Depravity

MistaCrave
February 8th 2016


2049 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome review dude. There were a few grammar mistakes here and there and the tone in the first half or so of the second paragraph seemed a bit silly, but this review was fantastic overall. I've gotta jam this album sometime soon. m/

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2016


20842 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks man, I appreciate the feedback. As far as the grammar goes, I'll look it over tomorrow when I have fresh eyes. As far as the tone, this is pretty unconventional review (for me at least) but I wanted to try something difference considering the significance of the record.

OvDeath
February 8th 2016


10597 Comments


I mean it the most constructive way when I say it reads like a really badly dramatic and overly pretentious piece. It feels very contrived reading this. Like you were trying to hard to tell us how important this album is, your words feel too forced to try and push across some kind of more artistic style. I've always found that your wroting in particular works better when you just keep it simple.

OvDeath
February 8th 2016


10597 Comments


I typed all that on my phone so there are a bunch of spelling mistakes

Spado
February 8th 2016


277 Comments


Pretty lame first paragraph. It at least should have been a walk in the wilderness in total isolation. And you can't compare the silence there to a train...

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2016


20842 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for feedback. I was going for something a little of my wheelhouse, but I appreciate the criticism. It was worth the experiment. I'll practice more before posting something like this again.

Hawks
February 8th 2016


45133 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fuck yes a Darkthrone review.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2016


20842 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@Spado - if you find the opening paragraph lame that's understandable, but i'm telling you, the isolation is real on a train. you're just surrounded by people who ignore you in favor of whatever they're doing on their phone/laptop. obviously i am guilty of this as well, but it's kind of awkward when you think about it, to be stuck in a tin can with dozens of people and not one person will acknowledge anothers existence

user
February 8th 2016


1228 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ive taken the same train ride. shit is melancholy as all hell.

OvDeath
February 8th 2016


10597 Comments


I've never personally understood that argument. I'd rather be using technology to talk to people I'm actually interested in than talk to random strangers on a train.

OvDeath
February 8th 2016


10597 Comments


My phone gives me the connection to a meaningful world of people and concepts that engage me rather than forcing me to make meaningless small talk with strangers I have no desire to connect with.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2016


20842 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I would too. I'm not saying it's a terrible thing really. It's just eerie how quiet it is on a train when it's packed to capacity.

OvDeath
February 8th 2016


10597 Comments


Yeah I feel that. Even in my city on a regular train it's quiet because most people are just tired as fuck and want none of it.

DoctorDoom
February 8th 2016


2894 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've made a similar trip from central New Jersey to Albany. Peaceful, an the scenery definetely gives away to self reflection. Record is a good soundtrack to such a trip.

enedwaith
February 8th 2016


1865 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

oh nice spirit you 5'd it



you had it at 4.5 when you said you were reviewing it i was like @___@

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2016


20842 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, I listened to it like a dozen or so times the past few days and i realized there wasn't a moment I didn't really love on it, so the 5 felt appropriate

Hawks
February 8th 2016


45133 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good choice bro.

mifzal
February 8th 2016


1718 Comments


this and A Blaze in the Northern Sky are both classics.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2016


20842 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

removed and reworded some things, hopefully it reads a little better. i probably wont change too much else as this was more a trial run than anything else, and i want a reminder as to what works and what doesn't



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