Sunday, November 1, 2015

Cover of the month (pt. 11) - Too old too cold

Darkthrone are a band that probably most people know about from their early years as the unchallenged primitive (unholy) black metal masters. At that very moment when you heard "In the shadow of the horns" for the first time, just being one of the rawest song to ever come out of your speakers, is an experience that most of us won't easily forget, or perhaps ever will experience again.

That combined with the cold and dark feeling that lies within both the music and lyrics as well as the album covers is something that has captivated countless of people and spawned thousands of clones trying to recreate the same feeling and atmosphere. But, as we all know, none of them have ever been able to create something that comes even close to the original, which is a subject that the lyrics of this song that we've chosen supposedly deals with.
Constantly being copied and imitated over and over again must be quite frustrating, which probably could be one of the reasons for them to abandon their past and going into new directions and new paths with "The Cult is Alive", and the four albums that have followed. The total respectlessness for what other people might think and want them to do is something that isn't very common these days. And the fuck-off-we-do-what-we-want punk attitude gives them a respect that few other bands deserve.

I wasn't really convinced the first time I heard "The Cult is Alive". I felt it lacked everything that I listened to during this period. Everyone was talking about this 'punk album of the year' while I only wanted to have another "A Blaze In The Northern Sky"-kind of new album, and where quite disappointed on what I heard. Like almost everyone else. Some of their die hard fans even declared the band dead. At the same time, what's the point and the fun of recording the same record again?
Little did I know that I would rank this album as one of my absolute favorites only a year later, and maybe even one of the most influential albums in my songwriting today. Big words, I know, but it has been extremely important in my own musical development in how I write songs which lies between the genres of punk and (black/speed/thrash) metal.

The turning point came a few month later when I was on tour together with the very same guy who played the record for me the first time. We have this rule in our tour van, the driver choose the music to be played. He was driving and "The Cult of Goliath" was blasting from the speakers. I don't know what it was due, if I was more easily accessible or just in a different state of mind, but this time I heard its true greatness. There and then I started to build up the relationship with the band that I have today. I really can't blame them because they broadened their horizons and tried something new. Instead I would say I am grateful.

I totally lost interest in metal and its subgenre when I found punk in the 90s. I listened only at a handful records with elements of hard rock and metal.  I even sold parts of my old record collection, which I regret today, and gave all my dedication to everything that had to do with punk. "The Cult is Alive" kind of opened the gates again, so it meant a lot in many different ways.
I have also as long as I can remember been inspired by headstrong honest people with strong opinions and great integrity. I don't know Fenriz in person, but I would still say that he possesses all these qualities. Making Darkthrone even more credible and genuine in my opinion.

For me it was quite impossible to choose only one song to record since I could've recorded each and every song from that album. That's why it took us months, and countless times of listening to the record, before we agreed to record either "Atomic coming" or "Too old too cold". Even "Graveyard slut" was a potential song. We gave "Too old..." a few attempts but as late as in the studio I suggest that we would replace it against "Shut up". You could see Henrik's patience and hope that this project would soon be over just vanished. He looked so sick and tired that I thought he would just leave the band and go home to never come back again. And so came the next setback, shall we play it like the original or in d-beat? Fuck. It ended up that we recorded two versions. Hehe.

Another band, also hailing from Norway, that we talked alot about recording a cover of was Aura Noir. Three songs worth mentioning are "Conqueror", "Iron night/Torment storm" and "Unleash the demon". Damn, why didn't we? What I love most about both bands, besides the killer riffage and intensity, is that Nocturno Culto and Apollyon sounds totally fucking unsympathetic. A great quality in these kinds of contexts.
"Too old too cold" was not the only suggestion by Darkthrone but also "Unholy black metal", "Hiking metal punks", "I am the graves of the 80s", "Over fjell og gjennom torner", "Raised on rock" (again), "Canadian metal", "A blaze in the northern sky" and "I am the working class". To name drop a few.

Punk, metal or punk-metal, who gives a fuck? When it comes down to it, we're just three hellish rock'n roll freaks. Come on you fuckers!

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