Black metal’s nihilistic philosophies and destructive tendencies basically cursed its practitioners with brief and tormented careers – particularly among the Norwegian bands arising in the early 1990s, whose criminal endeavors gained even more publicity than their musical ones.

Yet Darkthrone have somehow bucked this prophecy with a career that, against all odds, now spans a quarter century and a whopping sixteen studio albums – only Enslaved, at thirteen during a comparable timespan, even come close.

And for much of that time, Darkthrone has consisted of just two, versatile musicians and songwriters in Ted ‘Nocturno Culto ‘ Skjellum (vocals/guitars/bass) and Gylve ‘Fenriz’ Nagell (drums/vocals) – except for their formative years in which, along with guitarist Zephyrous and bassist Dag Nielsen, they unleashed a death metal debut in 1991’s Soulside Journey.

A daring transition into black metal, just as Norway’s heavy metal community was finding its intended, unique voice with that terrifying medium, resulted in three of the style’s most revered works: A Blaze in the Northern Sky, Under a Funeral Moon and Transilvanian Hunger, by which time Fenriz and Nocturno were left to their own devices.

After that, all bets were off, as Fenriz and Nocturno gradually ran aground of their own creation; refined it just about as far as was feasible (and reasonable); broke off into unexpected stylistic tangents when it was least expected of them; and there’s still no telling where their long and twisted adventure will lead to next.

Regardless of all that, Darkthrone will remain: steadfast, indestructible, unfathomable, so don’t be frightened and come along as we rank their discography from worst to best.

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