True Fucking Black Metal

I am a 22 year old Anthropology major living in Florida. I like anthropology, archaeology, and black metal.
5 - Burzum - Burzum (March 1992)
This album cover is a fairly straightforward one. It has the standard Burzum gothic font, this time white on a black background, and does not have an album title because it is an eponymous release. The scene is in a swamp/marsh area, and there is a central hooded figure, although it is shrouded in mist. There is a pool of water at the figure’s feet, surrounded by what appear to be reed-like plants. There are a few decrepit leafless trees, but otherwise the landscape is mostly bare. The figure is ghostly and reminiscent of Death, although this is a tenuous identification at best. Interestingly, this cover appears to depict the same scene as the cover of Det Some Engang Var, just with a shift of perspective (with the gate at the viewer’s back, instead of facing the gate). 

5 - Burzum - Burzum (March 1992)

This album cover is a fairly straightforward one. It has the standard Burzum gothic font, this time white on a black background, and does not have an album title because it is an eponymous release. The scene is in a swamp/marsh area, and there is a central hooded figure, although it is shrouded in mist. There is a pool of water at the figure’s feet, surrounded by what appear to be reed-like plants. There are a few decrepit leafless trees, but otherwise the landscape is mostly bare. The figure is ghostly and reminiscent of Death, although this is a tenuous identification at best. Interestingly, this cover appears to depict the same scene as the cover of Det Some Engang Var, just with a shift of perspective (with the gate at the viewer’s back, instead of facing the gate). 

4 - Darkthrone - A Blaze in the Northern Sky (26 February 1992)
This album is a classic, and the cover is part of that legacy. It features a corpsepainted band member posing in the dark. He (Nocturno Culto) is posing in what appears to be a graveyard, left hand on a piece of worked stone and right hand being swung, as if swiping at the viewer. It is a little hard to tell, but it also seems that his hair is blowing behind him, so he might also be jumping down from the worked stone to his left/our right. Either way, the rest of the image is just darkness. The logo and album title are present in white text against the black background. This cover features black metal markers such as corpsepaint, black-and-white photography, a nighttime scene, and ghastly images.

4 - Darkthrone - A Blaze in the Northern Sky (26 February 1992)

This album is a classic, and the cover is part of that legacy. It features a corpsepainted band member posing in the dark. He (Nocturno Culto) is posing in what appears to be a graveyard, left hand on a piece of worked stone and right hand being swung, as if swiping at the viewer. It is a little hard to tell, but it also seems that his hair is blowing behind him, so he might also be jumping down from the worked stone to his left/our right. Either way, the rest of the image is just darkness. The logo and album title are present in white text against the black background. This cover features black metal markers such as corpsepaint, black-and-white photography, a nighttime scene, and ghastly images.

3 - Darkthrone - Soulside Journey (13 January 1991)
This album cover is from one of the first Norwegian extreme metal albums. It was painted by Duncan Fegredo, a comic book artist. The Darkthrone logo is intact in the top/left corner, here appearing in white. The painting can be divided horizontally into thirds. The lower third is the ground, a feature-less plain populated by shadowy figures. At the horizon/in the distance there are mountains, which leads into the next third of the painting, the sky. The sky is black and starry, except for what appear to be low-hanging white clouds over the plain. There are no identifiable stars/constellations. The top third of the image is taken up by a system of gears/clockwork/automata, reminiscent of a train. This album is notable for being a death metal album, rather than a black metal one. It was recorded in Sweden, at Sunlight Studios, by Tomas Skogsberg, and the guitars were “co-produced by Uffe” [Cederlund], the guitarist for Swedish death metal pioneers Entombed. These are all central players in the Swedish death metal scene, but this album represents the break between the two scenes where before there was less of a divide.

3 - Darkthrone - Soulside Journey (13 January 1991)

This album cover is from one of the first Norwegian extreme metal albums. It was painted by Duncan Fegredo, a comic book artist. The Darkthrone logo is intact in the top/left corner, here appearing in white. The painting can be divided horizontally into thirds. The lower third is the ground, a feature-less plain populated by shadowy figures. At the horizon/in the distance there are mountains, which leads into the next third of the painting, the sky. The sky is black and starry, except for what appear to be low-hanging white clouds over the plain. There are no identifiable stars/constellations. The top third of the image is taken up by a system of gears/clockwork/automata, reminiscent of a train. This album is notable for being a death metal album, rather than a black metal one. It was recorded in Sweden, at Sunlight Studios, by Tomas Skogsberg, and the guitars were “co-produced by Uffe” [Cederlund], the guitarist for Swedish death metal pioneers Entombed. These are all central players in the Swedish death metal scene, but this album represents the break between the two scenes where before there was less of a divide.

2 - Mayhem - Deathcrush (16 August 1987)
This is the second release by Mayhem, an EP, that came out in the summer of 1987 after being recorded during the end of the previous winter. The title font is gothic and the text black on a white background. The logo is the same, but because it is larger you can now read what is written above ‘Mayhem’, and that is ‘The True’. Looking back at the Pure Fucking Armageddon cover you can see that it is there too, but this is the first easily readable example. I believe that this is where using ‘true’ as an intense positive descriptor came from, such as in the phrase “true Norwegian black metal”. The background of the cover is unusual for being red, but it fits the bloody theme of the image, nicely complementing the central photograph of severed hands. These hands are hanging from maybe gallows or scaffolding. The impression given off by the whole is unsettling. 

2 - Mayhem - Deathcrush (16 August 1987)

This is the second release by Mayhem, an EP, that came out in the summer of 1987 after being recorded during the end of the previous winter. The title font is gothic and the text black on a white background. The logo is the same, but because it is larger you can now read what is written above ‘Mayhem’, and that is ‘The True’. Looking back at the Pure Fucking Armageddon cover you can see that it is there too, but this is the first easily readable example. I believe that this is where using ‘true’ as an intense positive descriptor came from, such as in the phrase “true Norwegian black metal”. The background of the cover is unusual for being red, but it fits the bloody theme of the image, nicely complementing the central photograph of severed hands. These hands are hanging from maybe gallows or scaffolding. The impression given off by the whole is unsettling. 

1 - Mayhem - Pure Fucking Armageddon (1986)
This demo marks the beginning of Norwegian black metal. This features the unique line-up of Euronymous on guitar and vocals, Necrobutcher on bass, and Manheim on drums. After this demo, Euronymous stopped singing and played only guitar. This was self-released by the band on cassette, and this version of the cover is the same image, just a much better reproduction (printed vs Xeroxed). The Mayhem logo and gothic title text are in white on a black background here, while the colors are reversed but the font maintained on the cassette version. Even this early, a font with a gothic feel is used, although I do not believe that Mayhem started this trend in the greater metal community, but rather serves as an early/the first example of it. The image itself is of a crucified figure, probably Jesus but surprisingly difficult to make certain. The figure is obviously in agony, and a light shines on the face serving to highlight the facial distortions caused by the pain. The background appears to be a church as it consists of gray stone walls. This reading of the location is much easier to do in this version because in the reproductions of the cassette version I have seen, the background appears to be Xeroxed into oblivion. 

1 - Mayhem - Pure Fucking Armageddon (1986)

This demo marks the beginning of Norwegian black metal. This features the unique line-up of Euronymous on guitar and vocals, Necrobutcher on bass, and Manheim on drums. After this demo, Euronymous stopped singing and played only guitar. This was self-released by the band on cassette, and this version of the cover is the same image, just a much better reproduction (printed vs Xeroxed). The Mayhem logo and gothic title text are in white on a black background here, while the colors are reversed but the font maintained on the cassette version. Even this early, a font with a gothic feel is used, although I do not believe that Mayhem started this trend in the greater metal community, but rather serves as an early/the first example of it. The image itself is of a crucified figure, probably Jesus but surprisingly difficult to make certain. The figure is obviously in agony, and a light shines on the face serving to highlight the facial distortions caused by the pain. The background appears to be a church as it consists of gray stone walls. This reading of the location is much easier to do in this version because in the reproductions of the cassette version I have seen, the background appears to be Xeroxed into oblivion.