The same has been said of Under a Funeral Moon ten thousand times before, but fuck it, I'll say it again: This album is as evil and frigid-sounding as anything ever derived from the Norwegian canon. For whatever it lacks in individually memorable moments or distinctive soundbites, it totally makes up for with regards to its monochromatic, unyielding atmosphere.
Once you're under the funeral moon, you are trapped. Darkthrone most themselves cited this album as the only true black metal album of their whole career; while most of their post- Soulside , pre-crust material revels in an aura of blackened enshrinement, I would be inclined to agree this is the album that most closely resembles the black metal archetype they're so often accredited for imagining.
Darkthrone really are one of the last among the real essentials I got around to checking-- I think I wasn't too excited purely on the merits that I thought I knew exactly what to expect. After all, so many others have done what they've done Minimalistic song structures, repetitive and cold riffs, a treble-fetishizing production and vaguely animalistic vocals are all extremely familiar and probably overdone by this point.
I don't think I'm being controversial when I say Under a Funeral Moon would not work, were it not for the band's grasp of atmosphere. As to how Darkthrone managed to perfect atmosphere through the most imperfect of means is beyond me.
Unlike some of the other go-to black metal classics however, there's nothing supposedly tongue-in-cheek about the tone of the music. Fenriz and Nocturno Culto may be fun-loving blokes most of the time, but you wouldn't guess from the music itself.
The latter's vocals here actually sound possessed, and the omnipresent tinny fuzz does strange things to the psyche, particularly if you listen to the album more than once in a sitting. Darkthrone 's musical endowments take a total backseat to the atmosphere here, though I suppose atmosphere is itself a product of good musicianship. What I think a lot of people tend to overlook here is how interesting if not conventionally solid the band's performances here are. The next time you're spinning Under a Funeral Moon , try to pierce through the atmosphere and pay attention to the way they structure songs and write riffs.
There is something so counter-intuitive about the way they will abruptly switch paces and ideas in their songs, with precious little to suggest a great deal of thought or intent behind it.
Darkthrone were most certainly inspired in creating this album, but it's a wonder how much of the magic was actually intentional. I think that's a great part of the appeal behind this album compared to other, otherwise stronger albums in their discography. Darkthrone tapped into something Otherly here. A certain x-factor that can't be channelled into words so much as felt by the listener attentive enough to give themselves over to the atmosphere.
This is what distinguishes Darkthrone from the hordes of soundalikes after them; while most others were making music based solely on their musical influences, Darkthrone were getting part of it from somewhere else entirely.
Anyways, from what I can gather, my ears are just not kvlt enough to fully appreciate it. Under a Funeral Moon, on the other hand, he calls their only true black metal album. Being a guitarist and former drummer, his complaints about the first album are exactly what draw me to it.
There are a number of deceivingly simplistic, but interesting and memorable riffs. The drumming showcases a lot of variety as well, more so than on later releases. But enough. This is a review of the latter, not the former. The entire sound has been stripped down, likely to fit a much more prototypical template. The drum kit was literally broken down to a few pieces and the playing is far more simplistic. The recording of the drums is also purposefully reduced in quality.
The blast beats sound like distant cardboard being beaten with spoons. You could probably recreate it with a busted microphone and your hands slapping on your thighs. Regarding the guitars, gone are most of the hooks and almost progressive elements of the last album. They have been replaced by a handful of simple riffs consisting mostly of alternating power chords and tremolo picking. Occasionally there is a standout, particularly on the main riff of the title track which I absolutely dig.
Everything else fits very much in with the buzz and drone of fellow band Burzum. The difference is that Darkthrone keeps the songs to fairly average length and follow a more conventional rock structure.
It has a nice heavy, distorted buzz that is similar to hardcore punk. They are a bit less aggressive and volatile this time around, but they fit the overall atmosphere. They come through slowly with a nice echo, like a demon calling out from hell. Definitely creepy and not at all obnoxious compared to some of the newer groups that tried to adopt this style. All of my points about the changes in guitar, drums, and production come together quite well to create a masterpiece of atmosphere.
The album carries a nice cohesive darkness, the songs never overstay their welcome, and few have managed to hit a balance like this before or since.
I will always recommend Blaze and Transylvanian Hunger over this album, but it is no less important to hearing the foundations of black metal and Darkthrone. As far as black metal is concerned, this may very well be the zenith. A bleak monochromatic soundscape set on a pedestal so high that only the select few will be able to envision. Under A Funeral Moon creates an album of such unrelenting darkness and nihilism that all other black metal albums seem light in comparison.
Atmosphere will always be the key to success for a black metal band and Under A Funeral Moon delivers it in spades. How does one go about creating atmosphere? This has always wondered me and I have spent many an hour debating this. There is no one way in which atmosphere can be created, but the end result is usually the same. Black metal strives to be dark, cold and misanthropic. Whether this is by a depressive black metal band creating an atmosphere of pure unrelenting agony, or an atmospheric band crafting long droning hymns to celebrate the winter, atmosphere in black metal usually comes across as cold and inhospitable.
However, one must realize that no other album has created the same unrelenting loneliness and emptiness that defines Under A Funeral Moon. Far away from said albums melodic sensibility, Under A Funeral Moon is dissonant, almost bordering on the outright atonal. Riffs seem to come and go in a random fashion, the songs defy conventional structure. Rhythms are strange and incoherent, with the seemingly random use of repetition making it even more off kilter and unconventional.
The production makes this album all the more deranged, with the drums and bass being very distant whilst guitars and vocals are loud and piercingly thin. Whilst many will pass this up in favor for Transilvanian Hunger, when looking at this album from a critical viewpoint it becomes clearer that Under A Funeral Moon is far more important in influencing the musical nature of black metal than Transilvanian Hunger which was far more important in cementing the genres primary aesthetics.
Although Transilvanian Hunger is another flawless album, Under A Funeral Moon remains all the more compelling and intriguing. The bizarre nature of the songs coupled with the powerful vocals and perplexing riff changes makes for an album that is constantly challenging. There is really nothing accessible about this release, it is a black metal sound stream that is anything but therapeutic.
Similar to the ironically named Swans, Under A Funeral Moon is a prime example of beauty through ugliness. Each song, despite being uniformly dark has a strong sense of somber melody. The criticisms leveled at this album are entirely legit; it is essentially a sloppily played, minimalistic opus of droning black metal with very low fi production values.
However, each criticism can easily be disapproved by saying it was all intentional. People who are focusing on superficial aspects only whilst ignoring the music as a whole are missing the entire point of the album. It comes clear that right from the start, with the introductory track Natassja in Eternal Sleep what Darkthrone aim to do. With jagged riffs lurching in strange patterns and vocals that sound like Nocturno Culto has risen from the grave, the sense of coldness embodies in the first track serves to foreshadow the dark and misanthropic journey the listener is about to depart on.
Despite the unnatural nature of these compositions, the sound remains surprisingly natural and organic. Gone are the death metal elements of the bands past, the sound has been exorcised of all unnecessary elements.
Gone is the powerful drumming that dominated the past albums, with Fenriz learning more about how black metal drumming should sound and thus toning it down.
Stripped down is an apt descriptor for this album and therefore can often be seen as a primary influence on the modern day bedroom black metal scene.
The influence that Under A Funeral Moon has sown upon the black metal scene is undeniable and to this day, remains one of the most challenging yet rewarding albums in black metal history. What is it that makes a good black metal album?
I have always considered atmosphere to be the absolute key to black metal. Atmosphere can be achieved in many ways, through orchestrations or unconventional instruments Lustre, Emperor, Summoning etc , but what I have come to realise, is that NO other black metal album creates the pure darkness and bitterly-cold despair that is heard on Under A Funeral Moon.
And we are not talking dreamy keyboards and menacing symphonies, we are talking raw minimalism and by god is it effective. From when 'Natassja In Eternal Sleep' kicks in, the riffs are very repetitive but teeming with menace. The ultra-thin guitars create an eerie, hypnotic soundscape unlike no other, and even though some might complain about the production quality it is a key factor in making this album so dark.
Black metal is rarely based around good production, and sometimes it can be unlistenable Pure Fucking Armageddon anyone? This is how the genre should sound in its purest form. Strange, otherworldly melodies that sound like they were built for the overall vibe of the production.
Another ingenious factor of Darkthrone's third record is the structure of the songs. Riffs seem to change without warning defying conventional patterns, with the title track being an example. The unpredictability of it all not only makes it more interesting, but also more creepy. The vocals here are incredibly harsh as well, and stand high and proud above anything else in the mix. Nocturno Culto's rasps and wails are proof of the darkness that human beings are capable of producing, and together with the guitars create a frozen, unrivalled listening experience.
There are also slight elements of thrash in here as heard in the opening seconds of 'Unholy Black Metal', which shows that Darkthrone can take elements of other genre and give them a blackened twist. The drums here are very muffled and distant, but it works well with the grim tone of the album. Although not being very clear the drumming itself is excellent. The lyrics are also more well written than on the predecessor, and are poetically evil.
That is the word that sums up Under A Funeral Moon, evil, because it is so utterly devoid of light and hope that one cannot help but feel both creeped out and astounded by its unusual sound. This is as black as black metal can ever get, and no other album has used such minimalism to create such an eerie soundscape. Darkthrone's finest, and an essential for BM fans. It is here where DarkThrone master their diabolical craft and fully seize and present the fundamental elements of "True Norwegian Black Metal".
Having rerouted their approach on 's A Blaze in the Northern Sky, an initiation into the beginning steps to achieving ultimate representation of the core of this grim art, DarkThrone now embody the total, complete essence of the intentional definitive vision of the cold and dark ideology behind black metal music. Rather, these are reductive works of abyssic descent towards cold and unforgiving forests in the depths of being. The music is cutthroat, frigid and grim in a tone unrealized to this degree in any previous form of metal music.
Instead of choosing the stone over the sun and considering the grip on the stone as a destination in itself, DarkThrone exist through the stone in violent defiance of the sun. From the look of the cover art alone, Under a Funeral Moon would appear to be a redundancy after the game changing sophomore effort A Blaze in the Northern Sky, but skim below the surface imagery into the music itself, and you will find that there is a subtle transfer here from that more heavily Celtic Frost-influenced album into a fuzzed out wall of high-speed riffing.
Other slight differences are that Culto uses a higher pitched snarl than his dark barking of the previous album, and bassist Dag Nilsen had left the band after recording his tracks for A Blaze, thus those duties are handled here by N.
Furthermore, this was the final Darkthrone album to involve Zephyrous on the guitar assuming you don't include the later release of Goatlord , so it also marks the end of an era, after which the band would consolidate into the duo we have come to recognize for more than a decade hence.
The track really alternates between these two riffs, a bass steadily plodding below, and it seems to end rather abruptly before the thrusting abysmal bliss of "Summer of the Diabolical Holocaust" rages forth. This song is perhaps one of the best of the album, an unapologetic onslaught that sacrifices nothing in its momentum, a primal channeling of energy and despair, which journeys through a series of hooks that are both barbaric and introspective, before settling into a slow, crashing rhythm more akin to much of the material on the prior album.
Monday 17 February Tuesday 18 February Wednesday 19 February Thursday 20 February Friday 21 February Saturday 22 February Sunday 23 February Monday 24 February Tuesday 25 February Wednesday 26 February Thursday 27 February Friday 28 February Saturday 29 February Sunday 1 March Monday 2 March Tuesday 3 March Wednesday 4 March Thursday 5 March Friday 6 March Saturday 7 March Sunday 8 March Monday 9 March Tuesday 10 March Wednesday 11 March Thursday 12 March Friday 13 March Saturday 14 March Sunday 15 March Monday 16 March Tuesday 17 March Wednesday 18 March Thursday 19 March Friday 20 March Saturday 21 March Sunday 22 March Monday 23 March Tuesday 24 March Wednesday 25 March Thursday 26 March Friday 27 March Saturday 28 March Monday 30 March Thor 3.
Their harsh vocals, simplistic riffs and blast 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. 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. 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. And unlike a blaze in the northern sky, this album has left behind the death metal riffs and moved completely into black metal.
If you're unsure about this album listen to the song "to walk the infernal feilds" and then make your decision. True classic and compared to its older and younger brothers it is constantly overlooked, which is a real shame.
All in all a perfect representation of the genre and a true classic. Get it. The first three Darkthrone albums are required listening for fans of BM. Fenriz himself argues that this was their ONLY true black metal release. From the stark minimalism to the icy cold production, it is a eerie monster looming in the shadows.
Not as varied as A Blaze in the Northern Sky, not as memorable or riffy as Transylvanian Hunger, this is still worth every second. I mainly bought the album to support the band.
I enjoy Darkthrone a lot and the power and feelings they put in their metal is fantastic. Hail Darkthrone! Great value. Mandatory black metal. It doesn't get much more 'icy' or 'cold' than this when speaking of Nordic black metal, this is pure venom Haunting and majestic. One person found this helpful.
Like the album though not a huge black metal fan. Fenriz gives great commentary. Funny guy! Its vintage darkthrone. Not much else to say. The epithomy of second wave black metal. See all reviews from the United States. Top international reviews. Translate all reviews to English. This album is one of my favourite bm albums. Its bleak as hell. Awesome riffs and incredible atmosphere. Packaging is pretty minimal but what else would you expect? Great release, buy it.
Thank you for your feedback. Missing lyrics by Darkthrone? Know any other songs by Darkthrone? Don't keep it to yourself! Add it Here. Create a new account. Log In. Watch the song video Under a Funeral Moon.referencing Under A Funeral Moon, LP, Album, Ltd, Num, RE, Gat, VILELP35 I have a copy of this but I don't see the bar code numbers on the back and don't see where the hand-numbering is. I have a sealed copy and don't want to open.