Darkthrone – Transilvanian Hunger (1994)

Absolutely, catagorically, not only one of my favourite black metal albums of all time but one of my favourtie albums of all time from any band in any genre. I’ve put off reviewing this for the 13 years or so that I have been writing about music, because what can be said about such a revered classic? But as I’ve polished off and opined on the remainder of the Darkthrone catalogue, I’ve now been forced to address this record, which stands out as not having a review from me. First world problems, eh? Or is that first wave problems? Heh heh.

No, Transilvanian Hunger is the pinnacle of the Norwegian (or second wave) black metal sound, for me at least there is nothing better than it. Some of the Burzum stuff comes close, but none of the Darkthrone stuff does. I love all of Darkthrone’s music, but this is such a bizarre outlier, I suppose a perfect distillation of their early 90s sound yet also a stripped back and reduced version of it. That “reduction” to a core, constantly repetitive sound and production, whether accidental or intentional, has set the bar for cold and / or raw black metal ever since.

I won’t go into every single song here, as that would be absolutely pointless. Just listen to the whole thing in one go as loud as you can (I recommend a car or some sort of old stereo system) and then reflect on it. I think everyone should listen to this thing at least once. But hey, as I sit here typing this in a Transilvanian Hunger t-shirt, I could easily be accused of being very biased. This album changed my life, and I hope it changes yours. If it doesn’t, then that’s fair enough.

That’ll do.