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Darkthrone: The Underground Resistance
Darkthrone’s fifteenth album, ‘The Underground Resistance’, was released 25 February 2013. You can get your hands on the disc in many formats and with goodies here.
Fenriz and Nocturno are, of course, cover stars of Terrorizer #233 which is available here. We spoke at length to both Fenriz and Nocturno, and of course they had plenty to say. Here are some insightful extracts from the feature in Terrorizer #233.
It’s a fight… for the old sound
“The title obviously comes from the fight,” says Fenriz. “My fight, my battle, and that of everyone else that has been fighting alongside me. It’s a fight for sound, for the old sound, the old metal. I am glad to realise that, lately, a lot of people and bands are focusing themselves not only on the ’80s, but also the ’70s and sometimes even going further back. It’s been a hard fight, one that still continues, and one that I’ve been proud to be a part of. So, ‘The Underground Resistance’ can be seen as a unifying title for all these like-minded people. It’s also a bit of a nod to the faceless techno movement from Detroit, of course. A silent nod to those guys, who are also doing techno the way it was done in the ‘iron age’ of techno, around 1991 and 1992.”
I tend to have an opinion about everything…
“It’s easier to recommend and discover bands nowadays,” ponders Fenriz. “I came into it a little bit late in 1987, but the global metal network was a sort of Internet that we had at the time. It worked like a charm, it was just slow. Suddenly the Internet itself comes on top of that, so it’s no wonder that we’re all discovering new and old bands and everyone seems to be connected,” he says, before analysing the actual importance of his recommendations. “My ‘stamp of approval’ is not important to everyone. A lot of people say they don’t give a shit and some people don’t like what I do at all. Being more in the public eye also doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone’s listening with any kind of attention. If I had badmouthed some big band in an interview in 1994, people would probably remember that better than any of the zillion comments I do on things nowadays. And when a band is writing their songs, I assume they’re not thinking about me or what I’ve said about them. In fact, I still want to point out that I don’t want to write a lot about music. A lot of people want me to, I’ve had a lot of offers, but I’ve refused most of them. You’ll notice that when I write on the blog, it’s just a couple of lines, and I let the music speak for itself. It’s just a general guideline. But now, because I tend to have an opinion about everything, people keep asking.”
The underground resistance is winning
The underground resistance is getting stronger. Strong enough to actually consider a simple question, at this point: are we winning this fight?
“I feel that I’m winning. The underground resistance is winning,” Fenriz states firmly. “Even Kiss, on their ‘Sonic Boom’ album in 2009, said enough is enough. The plastic drums had to go and they went back to their ’70s sound. I think, overall, there’s a little less of the photoshopped covers, a little less computer-based sounds, a little less of the clicky typewriter-drums, and that’s amazing, because all those things are tragedies for music. I can rant about this every day and never get tired. Can anyone just start a band called The Bass Drum On ‘Mob Rules’ By Black Sabbath, please? Or even better, if you want to be modern, The Royal Thunder Bass Drum Sound?”
But, devil’s advocating just a little, is winning a good thing? Can we ever get too many allies, so that the underground actually becomes the overground?
“The argument is a little trickier than that,” he reasons. “I don’t think the main factor is the amount of people that are listening. Because that goes both ways: for instance, would you say that a band that has no people listening to it is underground per se? I think not. I think that a band, however small, that tries to copy a main band like, say, Dimmu Borgir, is overground. Because they want to be overground. On the other hand, you can have a band like Enforcer, who have my deepest respect, they’re on a big label and if they would sell a million records I would still say they are going against the grain. I’d be happy if they did. I’d be happy if Hour Of 13 would sell a million records. Because then, the underground would have struck back with force.”
In the past couple of years Nocturno Culto has played a few shows with Sarke (and even showed up during Triptykon’s show at Roadburn to belt out ‘Dethroned Emperor’ alongside Tom G. Warrior). Has any of that rubbed off on him? Any itch to ever succumb to the many requests to finally get Darkthrone to play a show?
“I have nothing against playing live,” he says thoughtfully. “I like playing. It’s one of the things I believe I can manage in my life, playing guitar. I like the vibe of playing live, even if it’s very tense, and that’s horrific, but I still like it. But when it comes to Darkthrone… I’m always in a constant war with myself if it’s a good idea for us to ever play live or not. I can do it with Sarke, and it’s nice, and I believe we could do a whole lot of things with Darkthrone as well, but we have limitations. We are difficult people. So, I have nothing against it, but I don’t strive for it to happen either.
But you never know. Times have changed, our lives keep changing, and if we’re ever going to do it we have to hurry up. There’s no point getting up on stage when we’re 65 years old, at least not for a band like ours. We’re not on the same ballpark as Lemmy, he’s always been on stage, for us it would be ridiculous. So, we’ll see.”
We’ve dared to free ourselves…
“Ted often says that people seem to be scared when they see freedom, and he’s right,” Fenriz offers as way of conclusion.
“When they see free people, weird people, they don’t want to sit beside them on the bus. They’re sceptical when a band frees itself from its chains, instead of just sticking to one genre. With Darkthrone, we’ve dared to free ourselves.”
‘The Underground Resistance’ is available in many formats at the Peaceville store.
You can find out more about Darkthrone here.