Various - _Fenriz Presents... The Best of Old-School Black Metal_
(Peaceville, 2004)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7 out of 10)
As a prelude of sorts to Darkthrone's recently formed Tyrant Syndicate label (whose releases will be distributed through Peaceville), Darkthrone legend Fenriz has put together this compilation -- which is actually getting released by Peaceville rather than Tyrant. The premise seems interesting: take one of the metal underground's most respected names, and get him to pick a bunch of tracks that he views as "the best of old-school black metal", which is just his area of expertise. If you already are into old-school black metal, then this review can probably be reduced to the track list: Blasphemy - "Winds o the Black Godz"; Sarcofago - "Satanic Lust"; Celtic Frost - "Dawn of Megiddo"; Nattefrost - "Sluts of Hell"; Mercyful Fate - "Evil"; Sodom - "Burst Command Til War"; Tormentor - "Elisabeth Bathory"; Aura Noir - "Blood Unity"; Destruction - "Curse of the Gods"; Samael - "Into the Pentagram"; Bulldozer - "Whisky Time"; Mayhem - "The Freezing Moon"; Hellhammer - "The Third of the Storms"; Burzum - "Ea, Lord of the Deeps"; Venom - "Warhead"; Bathory - "Dies Irae".

A couple of politically correct decisions seem apparent: Fenriz's own band Darkthrone does not feature in the comp, and Bathory's "Dies Irae" was chosen to close the disc (one can assume this was done as a tribute of sorts to the recently departed Quorthon). On the other hand, Burzum and Mayhem appearing in the same track listing may be somewhat surprising. Most of the tracks will be familiar to those who are firmly into the genre, with the glaring exception of the more recent Nattefrost and Aura Noir tracks. While Fenriz does have some link or another to both bands, their songs do provide a good representation of old-school black metal being done today. As for the classic tracks, several of them are difficult to argue with, while some fans will make a case for some missing tracks or bands; but generally a good view of old-school black metal is provided in the compilation. The flow of the compilation is hardly very smooth, which isn't surprising given the diversity of material it contains; the actual listening experience, much as it has a number of historic highlights, is only average. The main problem, however, is that if you're already a genre connoisseur, then you are unlikely to find much (if any) relevant material to add to your collection here -- and in that case, the rating above does not apply. If, on the other hand, you simply want to find out more about this genre, then this is a good place to begin your quest -- you'd struggle to find a more trustworthy guide than Fenriz in this matter.

Contact: http://www.peaceville.com

(article published 19/10/2004)


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