Thorns 1990-1992 : Game-changing demos

Las time I told you about Thorns, I promised the music would get better. Well, here we are.

In 1990 Snorre renames the band Thorns instead of Stigma Diabolicum, allegedly pissed by all those bands adopting pompous latin monikers. And between 1990 and 1992, Thorns would have their first groundbreaking period. They brought to the world their signature sound through the two essential, game-changing demos, Grymyrk and Trøndertun. How exactly did these demo tapes, originally intended for the band members’ sole usage, ended up on the underground tape trading circuit, is a mystery to the extent of my knowledge.

Whatever the reason, this “leak” had a butterfly effect on the genre. This time, compositions and execution are much tighter, and the effect is immediate. The guitar tones, those tremolo-picked minor and dissonant chords, and this evil, glacial atmosphere fascinated a good number of then-underground Norwegian bands, who later cited these demos as highly influential to their music – among them no less than Emperor and Mayhem. And it’s hard to disagree ; this sounds exactly like the essence of Black Metal.

For the sake of Internet practicality, I am sharing the Stigma Diabolicum compilation, grouping songs from both Grymyrk and Trøndertun, along with songs from the very first demos. Fun fact, an attentive ear will eventually spot influences from video game music – something that was confirmed by Snorre himself. Fall, for example, has a feel of 80’s side-scroller with the “infernal superplay” mode turned on.

Three years prior to under a Funeral Moon and De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, that signature sound came out with Thorns. Snorre is the person responsible for Black Metal’s Second Wave, and listening back to these old demos makes it crystal clear.