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flittermice

Transilvanian Hunger

Transilvanian Hunger is the fourth album by Norwegian black metal band, Darkthrone. Released in 1994, it was the band's first album to be recorded with just two members, Nocturno Culto (guitars and vocals) and Fenriz (drums). The band would remain a duo from this point onwards. However they claim that this record is somewhat atypical for Darkthrone, since it is much faster, more simplistic, and it was made with a very "raw" or "low fidelity" recording style.

The back cover of the album states that "Darkthrone is for all the evil in man". All Music Guide notes that the album, "boasts plenty of notoriety in the metal underground," and that it has been a great influence on many black metal bands.

Controversy

Lyrics for four of the album's songs were written by the infamous Norwegian black metal musician Varg Vikernes. He was imprisoned in 1993 for the murder of Mayhem guitarist Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth and for the arson of several churches. The ending of the song "As Flittermice As Satans Spys" contains a backmasked message. When the voice is played in reverse, it utters the phrase "In the name of God, let the churches burn.

Originally, the back cover displayed the phrases True Norwegian Black Metal and Norsk Arisk Black Metal (Norwegian Aryan Black Metal), but due to the negative response of many distributors, the latter phrase was removed. The band also intended to include another controversial statement with the album: "We would like to state that Transilvanian Hunger stands beyond any criticism. If any man should attempt to criticize this LP, he should be thoroughly patronized for his obviously Jewish behavior." In a press release, Peaceville Records issued both this statement and their own response, acknowledging that they could not censor their artists but also taking the opportunity to damn the sentiment. The incident caused Darkthrone and Peaceville to part ways after the album's release.

As a response to this controversy, Darkthrone included the following statement on their next album, Panzerfaust, the following year: "Darkthrone is certainly not a Nazi band nor a political band, those of you who still might think so, you can lick Mother Mary's asshole in eternity."

Critical reception

The album has provoked mixed reactions from black metal fans. Some Darkthrone fans regard Transilvanian Hunger as the band's worst album due to its production. It has been falsely speculated that the recording and production process was rushed in order to get the album out as quickly as possible, and fulfill contractual obligations to Peaceville, though the album was intentionally created as it is.

Others regard the album as Darkthrone's best, particularly for its raw production and "hypnotic" quality. Some have even described it as one of the best black metal albums recorded, and a milestone in how to make "primitive" black metal correctly.

Regardless of the above sentiments the album would be a stylistic reference point of for countless bands to follow, defining in a sense the black metal aesthetic of music production.

Title and artwork

The album's title may be a reference to the suicide of Mayhem's vocalist "Dead" (Per Yngve Ohlin) in April 1991. At the time of his death, Dead was wearing a t-shirt that read "I Transilvania."

The person who appears on the cover artwork is Fenriz and also bears resemblance to Mayhem's Live in Leipzig album (one of three recordings with "Dead"). In the February edition of Terrorizer magazine –which was an album artwork special– the cover of Transilvanian Hunger was featured amongst the greatest album covers. The magazine regarded it as representative of their "musical regression" ideologies, and as a "stark image of evil that was never quite equalled."

Reissue

In 2003, the album was remastered and reissued by Peaceville, as well as being repackaged in a cardboard digipak. The fourth and final chapter of a four-part video interview (spanning the first four albums) between Fenriz and Nocturno Culto was also included as bonus material.

Track listing

  1. "Transilvanian Hunger" – 6:10
  2. "Over fjell og gjennom torner" (Over Mountains and Through Thorns) – 2:29
  3. "Skald av Satans sol" (Scald of Satan's Sun) – 4:29
  4. "Slottet i det fjerne" (The Castle in the Distance) – 4:45
  5. "Graven tåkeheimens saler" (Tombs in the Misty Halls) – 4:59
  6. "I en hall med flesk og mjød" (In a Hall With Flesh and Mead) – 5:13
  7. "As flittermice as Satans spys" [sic] – 5:56
  8. "En ås i dype skogen" (A Hill in the Deep Woods) – 5:03

Title translations are unofficial.

Credits

References

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