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Caught In A Mosh: April 2010

| April 1, 2010 | 1 Comment

No ‘Throne On The Phone

Darkthrone drummer/vocalist Fenriz dislikes phone interviews. “Caught In A Mosh” columnist Trevor Fisher dislikes e-mail interviews. Who caved in order for Darkthrone to be featured in this month’s column?

Me, of course. It’s fucking Darkthrone. I would have done this shit with two tin cans and a string (still telephone communication?). Few “Mosh” readers — with the exception of my mom and dad — need any background on this band. For those who do: Dudes (Fenriz and guitarist/vocalist Nocturno Culto for 16 of the group’s 22 years) were one of the main reasons The Second Wave Of Black Metal even earned official designation. So instead of me talking about Darkthrone, I’ll let Fenriz, who took some time on a grim, frostbitten March day (I assume/hope every day in Norway is grim and frostbitten) to answer “Mosh” questions about the band’s newest — 14th — record, Circle The Wagons (Peaceville) and listen to some Steely Dan, apparently. Aja, to be exact.

FYI: I felt applying the “Associated Press Stylebook” to Fenriz’s replies would sacrifice emphasis and mood, so the only editing was for spelling or clarification purposes — hence all the capped letters Fenriz enjoys. Also, check Illinoisenter-tainer.com for the full Darkthrone interview.

Mosh: I read an interview a few months back in which you or Nocturno said Circle The Wagons wouldn’t have any black-metal elements. Was that a “goal” you set for yourselves when writing, or a reaction to the material after it was recorded?

Fenriz: Not really. We don’t have any plans, THE THRONE (haha) runs on coincidence. Another proof of that is the first two songs session-recorded for this album had two bass drums. Not until after that I thought, “What would be the best for my new songs and what would be the least typical ’90s thing to do? Ah, to use only one bass drum.” So it’s not really totalitarian this here project, although there are always exceptions.

M: Many Darkthrone fans (and us know-it-all writers) view The Cult Is Alive as the point where Darkthrone “crossed over” from black metal to the more speed metal/crust-punk sound employed now. Is that a fair assessment?

F: Well, I know MY crust period was mainly ’98 to 2005; then it was more and more old metal and [New Wave Of British Heavy Metal]. BUT in Darkthrone I had made mostly whatever I wanted since 2002, but as Ted [Skjellum, a.k.a. Nocturno] came up with the splendid idea of buying a portable studio for us, then we both knew that our sound would get more DUSTY, more like ZEBULON MACAHAN (which our entire album is dedicated to). NECROHELL, TOO, MADE US DO IT! Nah, but it sure as hell triggered us to go all SPEEDWAY on y’all and make some FREESTYLE METAL at least.

M: Where does Circle The Wagons fall?

F: Heavy metal/speed metal NWOBHM-punk. In other words, OLD-TIMER METAL! Ted made four songs, and I made five. [The power of Steely Dan overpowers Fenriz.] WHOA GREAT DRUMMING BY STEVE GADD ON THE TITLE TRACK, Aja. The album starts with one of mine, and then it’s every other all through the album. Very DEMOcratic, haha. His songs [are] within the 1970 to 1989 scope while my songs are almost purely 1979 to 1985 style.

M: Care to explain the album title? When you say “it’s a message to the invaders of our metal domain,” are you talking about specific bands? Specific movements of metal music? Trends?

F: Yes, all studio “experimentation” on metal, even from ZZ Top ’80s (Although I like Eliminator and Afterburner IN SPITE of the sound!) until Release From Agony with Destruction to our own Soulside Journey album — where we learnt from our mistake — to all those who use click drums or any modern instant-gratification sound on their albums where the instruments just sound “powerful,” not like REAL instruments. I’ve been on that warpath since I was a spring chicken, no reason to suddenly quit. Main thing, of course, being the typical drum sound of overground ’80s and then the entire scene almost in the ’90s. But on their last album, even Kiss understood that dry, ’70s sound on drums is best for our music styles. I rest my case. But guess what, who are the slowest in the universe to GET IT, to quit the horrible click drums? Yes, “extreme metallers.” I’ve always hated that term anyway, or, it wasn’t for me. As far as I’m concerned we play MODERATE METAL WITH UGLY VOCALS.

M: I noticed Devastation (from Chicago) is a Top Friend on Darkthrone’s Myspace page. What does that band mean to you?

F: Well, I can tell ya that. In 1987, I started tape trading. I got in touch with Nicke Andersson (Nihilist, Entombed, Hella-copters, Death Breath, etc.) and many others of course, but the great thing is that he had all these great U.S.A. demos and bands to share, and Devastation just floored me. It was so tight, the snare rolls were so fine, mmmmm-hmm, that band was a-rockin’! I played it to the guys of Darkthrone and Valhall too, of course, and traded it onwards to others . . . and I never stopped liking that tape, throughout the ’90s as well and the ’00s . . . almost 20 years. And then I got in touch with them, ‘cuz what happened? The ’80s had little info, the ’90s I wasn’t interested in info, and then as the ’00s passed I finally got a computer, and then suddenly there was info on tapes that I had been into since the ’80s. Anyway, the music on it is a mix of thrash and death, very good vocals, and on one song he drrrrrraaaaaws out the words just like Dead from Morbid/ Mayhem would do, so it was the first time I heard vocal phonetics/way of singing words like that. Very interesting.

M: While on the subject of Myspace, I’d regret not mentioning your fanfuckingtastic Band Of The Week blog. How do you discover bands? Digging around on your own? Suggestions from others? Bands sending you music?

F: ALL OF THE ABOVE, the same way one got into music in the ’80s tape-trader scene a bit as well. I am not part of the usual PROMO CIRCLE (all people in press often get the same promos), this brainwashes them with how metal supposedly sounds without hearing all the resisting bands of the underground. So I don’t get any big band promos, I don’t really get promos as I don’t want stuff. I have too much. But I want SOME and then I contact those bands directly for a trade or whatnot. I don’t have an official address. That’s how you end up getting the OV HELL promo, hahahahahahaha. What a joke.

M: Last Myspace question: Why is Red, from “That ’70s Show,” a hero?

F: What, you think his son is cooler? NO ONE is cooler than Red, plus he’s a hard-ass, and I prefer that to URKEL. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

OUT NOW: Helloween fans, don’t say this column didn’t warn you about Unarmed (The End). When this CD arrived I thought “Awesome! A best-of collection to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary. I don’t own very many Helloween records, so this is great!” It isn’t great. Not at all. A few minutes in I had to check the press info sent by the label ’cause this sure as shit isn’t the “A Tale That Wasn’t Right” I know. Listen, I get it. Helloween doesn’t have casual fans. You either love the group or think anyone who does is a giant fucking nerd and, therefore, throwing together a plain ol’ 12-song greatest-hits collection is a waste. But 70-piece orchestras? Gregorian choirs? Sure, if any metal act is suited for a symphonic makeover, it’s Helloween, but these cheesedick arrangements sap the power from songs like “Dr. Stein” and “Eagle Fly Free.” They sap the power! From the band that perfected power metal! More power!

MOSH-WORTHY: Lair Of The Minotaur Evil Power (Grind-House); High On Fire Snakes For The Divine (E1); Hookers, “Horror Rises From The Tombs”/”Beware The Mugger” single (Red Tornado); Arriver Simon Mann E.P. (Bec-Rec); Fireball Ministry Fireball Ministry (Restricted Release).

— Trevor Fisher

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Category: Caught In A Mosh, Columns, Monthly

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  1. ARRIVER says:

    Honored to see our new release has been deemed “Mosh-Worthy”!!!
    All the Beast,
    ARRIVER

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