DARKTHRONE's Fenriz recently spoke to the U.K.'s Terrorizer magazine about his upcoming compilation of "the most influential and most unholy sounding tracks" of the black metal genre, due on September 20 through Peaceville Records. Entitled "Darkthrone's Fenriz Presents… The Best Of Old School Black Metal", the album features classic contributions from the likes of VENOM, BATHORY, SODOM, HELLHAMMER, BURZUM and MAYHEM backed up by sleeve notes from Fenriz providing an insight into each track, its relevance to him and its impact on the scene in general.
"It kinda started when I was putting together a list of tracks that should be played in my funeral," Fenriz explained to Terrorizer. "Must have been back in '93 or something. Then I started throwing thrash metal parties in '96-'98 when I spun thrash metal vinyls on two decks, for a whole load of prominent people from the Oslo metal scene. Then, I started doing thrash metal nights in the Elm Street pub, but I quickly found out that people weren't banging enough, hell, almost only I did bang throughout the sessions. So I wanted to collect thrash or black metal on an album. I personally dig compilations from various genres. Historical compilations are not common in the metal scene, so when I met Hammy and Lisa [from Peaceville] last year, I sort of aired the idea."
It's noticeable how many of these tracks are particularly sloppy and raw. Asked if that is part of what true black metal is about, Fenriz responded "I didn't put emphasis on 'true' — just 'old'. But yeah, the relentlessness comes across in a better way when the old thrash and black metal is performed like this. I disgust myself being too steady on the drums, from the days of sky high ambitions. People probably ask themselves, 'He can't be serious, can he?' But I am bloody serious: this is the way I like black metal, and these are the artists that inspired so many of us — in many cases to write straighter and more streamlined material. I believe in raw and ugly!"
Where does the spirit of black metal begin? What about the bands that influenced these bands?
"I could talk for years about this, but everyone likes it short," Fenriz explained. "Black metal is as oppressive a style as any that involves the rock 'n' roll feeling. Correct timing will come and go, and great minds and talents will crumble under it. After trends — the deluge! I say the spirit begins within — one feels at one with ancient forces. Musically it is just as difficult to grasp, but I believe real metal, extreme metal spirit was best [described] by Kerrang!'s [and BLABBERMOUTH.NET's very own] Don Kaye, [he] reviewed 'Bestial Devastation' and 'Morbid Visions' by SEPULTURA: 'SEPULTURA has a sound that will turn flowers black.' This was back in '86, and I never looked back!"