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Trøndertun (1992)

Thorns was formed in 1989, by Blackthorn (Snorre Ruch). The original band name was Stigma Diabolicum, but was changed in 1990. The old demos released in the band's early history are some of the most influential recordings from the Norwegian black metal scene. Found on these, sometimes crude, demos are ideas that are as dark as they are brilliant. The Trøndertun demo, released in 1992, is no different. This tape was only distributed to a select few at the time, and thus remained a very rare and sought-after item in the years that followed.

From the opening moments of "Ærie Descent", a cold, uneasy feeling is conveyed. The riffs are dark and otherworldly, creating an eerie feeling and building a sense of dread. The pace is slow and creates an atmosphere of doom. The vocals are a little deeper than what one might expect, but are still done in an oldschool manner and nowhere near matching the guttural method of the death metal of that period. The tremolo melodies sound very familiar, as they seem to have been utilized for the Mayhem full-length (on which Blackthorn played guitar). Late in the song, there is some indecipherable chanting that adds to the darkness that is present here. For a cassette demo of this period, the sound is surprisingly good. Of course, the most important thing is the black aura that hangs over this. Though the word has been overused in the years that followed this, the music on this demo is the pure definition of grim.

"Funeral Marches to the Grave" picks up where the previous song leaves off and maintains the dreadful atmosphere. Early on, there are some eerie sounds that appear to be a guitar mimicking the moans of a damned soul, trapped beyond in a realm of suffering and pure torment. The vocals seems a little deeper on this one, but still work well with the sound. The highlights are the dismal tremolo melodies that weave in and out of the song, creating a feeling that is beyond description. It really is a shame that Snorre was imprisoned, as one has to wonder what brilliant music would have been produced had he been free to record albums during this period.

If ever you wish to hear a form of aural darkness similar to what is found on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, you are urged to seek out the early demos from Thorns. Sadly, upon his release from prison, Snorre opted to modernize his style of songwriting, so we'll never know what could have been. But it is all too clear, to surmise from the obscure material recorded in the early '90s ,that this band was on its way to something truly monumental.
(16 Feb. 2010)

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