12 Darkthrone Covers You Might Not Have Heard Before
In the realm of “True Norwegian Black Metal,” Darkthrone remains among the most influential groups. Their sophomore album, A Blaze in the Northern Sky (1992), was revolutionary for its time as the very first full-length black metal release. It’s so important that it now holds a permanent place of honor in the National Library of Norway. Countless groups have covered Darkthrone, including Primordial, Crimson Moon, Nachtmystium, Kvesta, Anorexia Nervosa, and Azaghal.
Yet, today’s topic was actually inspired by the news that Mayhem, whose classics have been covered by just as many artists, will release an album titled A Sinister Haul to the King — A Tribute to Euronymous that features eight other outfits tackling a track from De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas (1994). Many already know of Nordic Metal: A Tribute to Euronymous (1995), though it only includes one Mayhem cover. Interestingly, past and present members of Mayhem have reinterpreted the band’s songs with the likes of Kvikksølvguttene, Order, Mortem, and RUÏM.
And while our list could have easily been 666 songs deep, we’ve whittled it down to the following list of 12 Darkthrone covers.
The Entire Darkthrone Holy Darkthrone Album
The now-defunct Moonfog Records famously put together the tribute album Darkthrone Holy Darkthrone (1998). The record was intended to mark the label’s 10th anniversary. Satyricon’s “Satyr,” Sigurd Wongraven was Moonfog’s founder. Darkthrone belonged to Moonfog’s roster for roughly a decade; Moonfog released Darkthrone’s albums from Panzerfaust (1995) to Sardonic Wrath (2004).
The legendary bands to contribute to Darkthrone Holy Darkthrone were Satyricon, of course; Enslaved; Thorns; Emperor; Dødheimsgard; Gehenna; Gorgoroth; and Immortal. Gorgoroth also included their chosen cover, “Slottet i det fjerne,” on Destroyer: or About How to Philosophize with the Hammer (1998).
Beastcraft — “Unholy Black Metal”
Beastcraft’s fantastic version of “Unholy Black Metal” first appeared on the EP Nocturnal Reverence (2017). Beastcraft’s co-founder “Alastor Nefas,” a.k.a. “Trondr Nefas,” whose real name was Trond Bråthen, can be heard on the Von cover that follows “Unholy Black Metal.” Trondr is also known for a variety of other projects, such as the almighty Urgehal, Angst Skvadron, Vulture Lord, Endezzma, etc. “Unholy Black Metal” eventually turned up again on the Beastcraft compilation The Nechronology of Ungodly Beastial Craft 2004 – 2017 (2020).
Carpathian Forest — “In the Shadow of the Horns”
Carpathian Forest’s cover of “In the Shadow of the Horns” hails from the compilation We’re Going to Hell for This — Over a Decade of Perversions, which dropped in October 2002. It was recorded in April of that year. To our finely tuned black metal ears, it sounds criminally orgasmic. Nattefrost and Vragsinn are true kings of their craft.
Nattverd — “Transilvanian Hunger”
Nattverd’s interpretation of “Transilvanian Hunger” can be found on the phenomenal EP Skuggen (2019), which followed the band’s debut album, Vi vet gud er en løgner (2017). Nattverd’s vocalist, Ormr, who’s also a member of Doedsvangr and Nordjevel, is one of the best in the genre. His Nordjevel bandmate, Sveinr, who played bass on this EP, is equally cool. This past April, Nattverd amazed us with their latest album, I helvetes forakt, one of our BM mid-year picks.
Sarkom Feat. Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth — “In the Shadow of the Horns” (Live)
The video below was filmed in Strasbourg in 2001. Sarkom — one of black metal’s most fun outfits — and Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth make a pairing too divine to be true. Not only do the musicians involved sound great in combination, but they look pretty awesome too. Compare the bare-faced Niklas, who always resembles a gangster-film villain, with the corpsepainted, spike-clad members of Sarkom. The fact that both Erik Unsgaard and Kvarforth swig booze during the song makes it all the more rock ‘n’ roll, with the two men clinking their containers.
There’s also footage from performances of Sarkom and Kvarforth beautifully executing this song with the additional presence of Svarttjern’s HansFyrste. HansFyrste rules, so we suggest checking that out as well.
Taake — “Over Fjell og Gjennom Torner” (Live)
Taake’s live cover of “Over Fjell og Gjennom Torner” was released on the EP Svartekunst (2008). The energy of Taake’s mastermind Hoest on this track is guaranteed to instantly pique your interest. We also recommend Taake’s studio recordings of Darkthrone’s “The Dance of Eternal Shadows” and “Ravnajuv.”
Nocturno actually contributed vocals to Taake’s “Fra Vadested til Vaandesmed.” There is even an alternate version of Taake’s “Nordbundet” that features Nocturno and Niklas Kvarforth as guest vocalists. Nocturno, Hoest, and Niklas all appeared on Urgehal’s Aeons in Sodom (2016) — a star-studded tribute to Trondr Nefas that featured a lot of his salvaged work. Hoest and Nocturno were, furthermore, invited to participate in Secht’s Secht (2006) — another effort showcasing many of the genre’s greatest talents.
Faustcoven — “To Walk the Infernal Fields”
Faustcoven happens to be a band of which Fenriz himself is a fan. Faustcoven’s spin on “To Walk the Infernal Fields” first appeared on the demo The March of Cloven Hooves (2003) and then on the compilation The Priest’s Command (2009). The demo was recorded when Faustcoven was still the one-man project of Gunnar Hansen. Over the years, Hansen has been joined by different drummers, such as the wonderful and highly accomplished Terje M. Kråbøl, who formerly played with the next band on our list.
Sarke — “Too Old Too Cold” (Live)
The legendary Thomas “Sarke” Bergli actually took Fenriz’s seat on drums in an amazing group called Valhall during a period when the Darkthrone musician became too busy. However, Sarke eventually left, others replaced him, and Fenriz returned. During Sarke’s tenure, Valhall was still an extreme metal entity and shared their love of bands like Mayhem with him. (Valhall would ultimately become a stoner doom band, or, rather, a cult of self-proclaimed “Moonstoned” “Suicidal Hippies.”) Sarke and Fenriz actually both appeared on a 1991 demo by Operio, then known as Opera, called The Eyes of Uranus.
Sarke was originally inspired to start the classic band Tulus as a result of witnessing Darkthrone rehearsing for A Blaze in the Northern Sky in 1991. Although Tulus would morph into an equally amazing entity called Khold, the former has since been resurrected, and the two outfits run parallel. Of course, Bergli’s illustrious career as a BM artist reinforces our understanding of Darkthrone’s importance.
Sarke is the name of Bergli’s eponymous project. Although Sarke started as a one-man band and didn’t acquire permanent members besides Bergli until their second album, Oldarhian (2011), Nocturno has been fulfilling vocal duties since their very first record, Vorunah (2009). If you’re wondering why Sarke covers “Too Old Too Cold” during concerts, the reason is simply that this is the Darkthrone song that Nocturno Culto said they could perform.
Nocturno Culto, Taake’s Hoest, and Satyricon’s Frost and Satyr — “In the Shadow of the Horns” (Live)
The great Jonas Raskolnikov Christiansen, “Jonas aus Slavia,” was the genius behind Slavia. Jonas tragically passed away from cancer at the age of 31 the day before the show posted below, which was originally intended to raise funds for his treatment. Thus, the event sadly turned into a memorial concert. During “In the Shadow of the Horns,” Nocturno Culto handled vocals and guitar, Satyr also played guitar, Frost pounded away on drums, and Hoest provided the bass. Many other extreme metal all-stars, such as Kvarforth, performed in support of Jonas that evening.
Of course, Nocturno’s live appearances are very special because Darkthrone famously made the decision never to play in front of audiences again, at least not together.
Nex — “Over Fjell og Gjennom Torner”
Nex has only released one album, Zero (2007). It features ex-Funeral Mist and ex-Ofermod’s Tore Stjerna, a.k.a. “Necromorbus,” on vocals, guitars, bass, and lyrical duties; Bergraven’s Pär Stille on guitars; and ex-Deströyer 666’s Perra Karlsson on drums. In addition, ex-Zavorash and ex-IXXI’s “Totalscorn,” Max Oscar Björnhagen, provides guest work on a couple of tracks.
Necromorbus totally slays on Nex’s cover of Darkthrone’s “Over Fjell og Gjennom Torner,” Zero’s fourth track. It is impossible not to greatly admire Necromorbus, whose astounding list of accomplishments seems never-ending. He is one of the very best engineers and producers. In that capacity, Necromorbus collaborates with the likes of Mayhem and Watain.
Watain — “Transilvanian Hunger”
Watain performed “Transilvanian Hunger” on their first demo in 1998. It also appears on the live album The Ritual Macabre, which boasts the insanely talented Necromorbus on bass. Of course, we highly value the fierce energy that emanates from this dangerous cover. Frontman Erik Danielsson is an absolute beast.
Nagelfar — “Transylvanischer Hunger”
This German version of “Transilvanian Hunger” by the disbanded Nagelfar is certainly one of the strangest Darkthrone covers we’ve heard: “So rein… Böse… Kalt…” / “So pure… Evil… Cold…” Nagelfar’s “Transylvanischer Hunger” can be found as bonus material on a 2004 reissue of the 2001 album Virus West as well as on the compilation Alte Welten (2017).