Under a Funeral Moon



by Thor USER (73 Reviews)
September 16th, 2006 | 15 replies

Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Darkthrone is the essential black metal band, period. Their harsh vocals, simplistic riffs and blast beats are great for fans of the genre, but the production quality in here has limited appeal and may turn some listeners away.

Darkthrone is the black metal band. Whether you like them or not, they are exactly everything that the genre stands for. Minimalistic songwriting, haunting melodies, poor production qualities, and controversial, violent lyrics. Darkthrone has been around since the beginning of the "second wave" of black metal (along with bands like Mayhem and early Emperor) and doesn't show any signs of stopping now. Their albums A Blaze in the Northern Sky and Transilvanian Hunger have been deemed classics by fans of the genre and are widely known as some of the best underground metal albums in the world. These two albums are classics in the genre, no doubt. People have also deemed this release to join that category. While I can see why they think that, this album has some of the most limited appeal out of any black metal album.

Enter the hateful, freezing album that is...

Darkthrone's Under A Funeral Moon

Darkthrone on this album is comprised of:
Fenriz - Drums
Nocturno Culto - Bass and Vocals
Zephyrous - Guitars

What makes this album so important to black metal fans around the world? One word can easily sum up this question: atmosphere. Whenever you ask any fan of Darkthrone why they like them so much, you'll usually get the response, "The atmosphere of their albums is so incredible!" I can understand what they mean when they say this. Darkthrone has the uncanny ability to make such simple music interesting throughout an entire album spanning for more than forty minutes in length.

Fenriz's drumming is ideal for the band; his generic blast beats are what make black metal music, so he does this for the majority of the entire album. While it's not exactly technical, it's good for what the band seems to want to do with you, and that's hypnotize you with their droning riffs and beats. It's a pretty cool thing, really. Zephyrous' guitar riffs are often punk-esque, but that's common in this genre of music. Occasionally he'll step out and do a nonsense guitar solo that sounds distant in the mix and might even remind some people of Slayer. Nocturno Culto's bass is thick in the mix this time and is loaded with distortion, which I think is really cool for this album.

But what makes black metal such a powerful and moving genre of music? No doubt about it...it's the lyrics. I've seen black metal interviews and documentaries where famous bands say that the music is like "a religious experience" to them, so their lyrics are full of passion and emotion. Even though they're loaded with hate, violence, and even racism at times, you still have to respect them for saying how they feel in such a powerful expression. Here's just a sample of what this album has in store for you lyrically:

I drown myself in the deepest of sorrows,
As you Burned on that stake they burnt
my soul as well.
Your pure feelings, your flaming hate;
it was not enough.

-- Natassja In Eternal Sleep

...this is some extreme material that isn't for the faint of heart. The lyrics are constantly loaded with blasphemy, violence, necrophilia, hatred, and so much more. If you're an artist you have to respect these guys for just telling it like it is, even if you don't agree with them.

So why do lots of people not like black metal, even if they enjoy other sub-genres of extreme music? Once again, I've got another one word answer for you: production. This album has been said by many to be the album that contains the crappiest production quality out of any black metal album out there. While this isn't exactly a true statement, I can see to an extent why people would think that. This is how black metal is supposed to sound, so it's not exactly crappy for the genre. It's just part of the style, but since this isn't a very popular genre of music not many people are used to how it's supposed to sound. It's actually great for black metal because all of the instruments are at a good level in the mix, and the vocals are as extreme as ever. They're filled with effects to make them sound cold and evil. This is the point where people would turn away from this album, and I can see that, so that's why I just can't rate this album as highly as fans of the genre think it should be rated. It just has so much limited appeal.

Coming up with a rating for this album was pretty difficult. It's considered by many black metal fans to be a classic release for obvious reasons. It contains all of the essential elements of black metal: simplistic riffing, blast beats, and hateful vocals. While this is all positive stuff, I have to take in the negative looks from people who aren't accustomed to albums like these. The production is certainly something that could turn people away, and I'll even admit that I initially was before really delving into this album. I have to take the rating down just because this album would never be accepted very well outside the genre. It's still a pretty sweet black metal album, though.

Thor's rating:
Inside the genre: 4.5/5
Outside the genre: 2.5/5

m/ Unholy Black Metal m/

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other reviews of this album
Quattro Bajeena CONTRIBUTOR (5)
even then most barren landscapes look divine in the moonlight...

Ad Absurdum (5)

theDanger (4.5)
A grim masterpiece that both summarizes and validates everything for which Scandinavian black metal ...

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 16th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review. I personally love this band and this album.

September 16th 2006


ne'ermindThis Message Edited On 08.05.07

September 16th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5


Really, if this doesn't deserve a "Classic" rating there are few Black Metal cds that do. The review is good yet you take too much care to analyze it for people outside the genre. I think if you don't like the genre you won't like most of the bands, so why rate this lower just because people who don't like this type of music in general don't like it? These guys are integral to the genre and their early works are defining to black metal of the last decade.

September 16th 2006


I think he was just trying to write a different review than what Ad Absurdum wrote.

September 16th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Different strokes for different folks, Silenius. I love ABITNS and TH, but this one is clearly the weakest of their three "classic" releases.

September 16th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

IMO they only have two calssics, both in which do not compare to the likes of Emperor and such, but good none the less.

October 6th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I would have to say that I prefer Darkthrone to bands like Emperor, but I have to agree that this album is probably the the weakest out of the three "classics". Good well written review.

October 6th 2006


I agree with Apocalyptic Raids on this. I'd much prefer to listen to Darkthrone than Emperor, but out of their three earliest black metal albums, this is my least favorite.

January 8th 2007


Album Rating: 2.5

Fast, safe and cheap is this band's motto when it comes to reocrding an album, heard that from a documentary I saw a few years back.

January 8th 2007


For some reason, I really want to hear Darkthrone. Schweet review Kitty.

June 7th 2007


[quote=reviewer]Thor's rating:
Inside the genre: 4.5/5
Outside the genre: 2.5/5[/quote]
what a silly way to rate an album.This Message Edited On 06.07.07

June 7th 2007


Natassja in Eternal Sleep, a bit cheesy but awesome song.

July 7th 2007


NATASSJA!!!! love that part :p

August 5th 2007


ya so goodThis Message Edited On 08.05.07

November 25th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

review is fukn retarded

Digging: Varg (Swe) - Fuck Varg

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