Darkthrone's Fenriz Picks 5 Most Influential Doom-Metal Albums | Revolver

Darkthrone's Fenriz Picks 5 Most Influential Doom-Metal Albums

From Black Sabbath to Trouble, drummer shares stories behind "life's blood" doom
fenriz-solo-dsc_2773j-web-crop-2.jpg, Jørn Steen
Darkthrone's Fenriz
photograph by Jørn Steen

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Darkthrone have just dropped "Hate Cloak" — a nine-minute Sabbathian crusher that previews their new record Eternal Hails — and Fenriz wants to clarify something.

"First of all, I'd like to say that we haven't exactly gone total doom metal," says the drummer of the band's forthcoming 19th album.

Since forming in the late Eighties, the Norwegian metal duo, which also includes Nocturno Culto (a.k.a. Ted Skjellum), have been on an ever-evolving musical journey: from extreme death (Soulside Journey) to influential icy black metal (A Blaze in the Northern Sky, Transilvanian Hunger) to ripping crust/punk (The Cult Is Alive, F.O.A.D.). Eternal Hails finds the band plumbing their doomiest creative depths yet — and emerging with five expansive songs, none of which are shorter than seven minutes.

But Fenriz is quick to point out that the doom he's after has much more to do with "epicness" and vibe than any rigid adherence to genre standards or glacial tempos.

"'Hate Cloak' is certainly the slowest song on the album," he says. "There are plenty of 'fast' parts on Ted's songs, middle tempos and slow as well. The whole point of us having long songs is variation in tempos/pace, hence the epicness."

Long before Darkthrone existed, Fenriz says he was fascinated by the doom riff — and how the 70s and 80s heavy acts he listened to as a kid weren't afraid to mix things up throughout their albums.

"Since I was a toddler, I was drawn to the slower doomier riffs in songs, 'Waiting for the Sun' by the Doors and the final part in 'Pilgrim' by Uriah Heep," says Fenriz. "That was what I had in '73, '74 and I didn't get anything else during the 70s."

"In the 80s I discovered most other metal out there and I liked all the tempos. But I had a natural pull towards doomier riffs again and I like to play it as well," he continues. "So then it came to pass that I could find doomy parts on a lot of albums. It's not very important to me that an album is total doom, like ... all slow. I don't think that dogmatic doom appeared until the first Winter album [1990's Into Darkness]. I prefer doom albums to have some mid-paced/faster stuff as well, like Black Sabbath and … this mixer style is perfectly curated in the 80s by, for instance, Trouble."

Ahead of Eternal Hails' June 25th release, via Peaceville Records, we asked Fenriz to weigh in with the doom records that most inspire his own creativity. Read his picks below. 

Black Sabbath - Mob Rules (1981)

This is the backbone of my metal collection and an eternal inspiration, just thinking about it makes me believe in metal and it feels like I have free candy as a child forever. The drumming on this one by Vinny Appice is deeply embedded in me, all the other components of the album are my life's blood. 

Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)

It was a revelation — doom reference! — to discover. It felt ancient already in 1986, helped by the logo of their French label Black Dragon records. And it was from our neighbor country Sweden. I was enthralled and have been ever since. I have had air-drumming competitions with [former Enslaved drummer] Cato Bekkevold to this at several parties 30 years ago. Epicus Doomicus Metallicus is an untouchable classic with Jonah Quizz [Johan Längqvist's] vocals as the ultimate cherry on top.

Revelation - Terminal Destiny and Images of Darkness demos (1987)

I [corresponded] with [Revelation singer/guitarist] John Brenner. These demos are ultimate to me because of the guitar riffs and the guitar sound. It's absolutely incredible, a total feel for doom. I think I heard Trouble before I heard Revelation. But since I ordered the [second and third] Revelation demos [Terminal Destiny and Images of Darkness] and wrote with John Brenner it got the most attention from me. It was only later when I kinda discovered the first three Trouble albums, at the same time that I realized how influenced Revelation was by Trouble. 

Trouble - Trouble (1990), plus Psalm 9, The Skull, Run to the Light

I bought their self-titled Trouble album in combination with Darkthrone recording our first album, Soulside Journey, in September 1990 in Stockholm, Sweden — and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I must have had some earlier Trouble albums on recorded cassettes which led me to buy it, but they hadn't really gelled with me up to this point. Then it all changed. So to my memory, I bought the first three Trouble albums [Psalm 9, The Skull, Run to the Light] on CDs and because of that I cannot point out a single favorite, they got all jumbled up in my mind like just a playground of epic doomy heavy metal of the highest interest. What a blast!

Solitude Aeturnus - Beyond the Crimson Horizon (1992)

Amazing vocalist here [Robert Lowe]. This is how it goes when thrashers start to play doom metal — perfect, of course. It's not so charming when someone just collects all the doom metal in the world and decides to just worship the slow tempo. It's way more charming when these guys struggled to break out of the thrash modus of the late 80s and go against the grain to create some of the finest doom out there, unhindered by awful drum sound on both first albums. I have to remember to listen to their third album [1994's Through the Darkest Hour] more! The vocals on here ultimately inspired a lot of my singing for the Isengard project a lot, as I was busy recording songs for that project while discovering Solitude Aeturnus

Bonus Recommendations: Metal Church, Metallica, Celtic Frost, Autopsy, Nemesis 

Metallica has several great doomy parts as well, highly recommended. I can hear lots of doom metal in Celtic Frost as well, the A-side of the first Metal Church album [1984's Metal Church] has a lot of doom vibes that I am into. Autopsy too, and super recommended must be the pre-Candlemass band Nemesis, which was also inspiring for me on our new album.