Behind the Cover: DARKTHRONE - Eternal Hails

Fenriz and David A. Hardy present the story of the 'Eternal Hails' cover illustration.

Words by Luis (@luis.hoa):

DARKTHRONE's audiovisual history is one that has left a lasting impact for a black metal genre that has evolved great lengths over the decades. From working with the acclaimed Jim Fitzpatrick for The Underground Resistance (2013) to Duncan Fegredo on the legendary Soulside Journey (1991), Fenriz and Nocturno Culto have delivered tenfold on the DARKTHRONE experience with a plethora of collaborators among their list. Dennis Dread's punk laden prowess for F.O.A.D. (2013), Dark Thrones and Black Flags (2008), and Circle The Wagons (2010) and Zibgniew M. Bielak's illustrations for the Plaguewielder (2011) reissue and the Shadows of Iconoclasm (2021) boxset proves that the band stray from a linear visual identity, employing different techniques that are representative of their sonic exploration. Beyond just their illustrated covers, the most striking appear to be the photographs, as we've seen with A Blaze In The Northern Sky (1992) and Transilvanian Hunger (1994), two records that still hold the strength of their initial release window. No matter what DARKTHRONE era you look at, the band has delivered on the artistic end.

For their newest endeavor, Eternal Hails, DARKTHRONE have utilized UK artist David A. Hardy's Pluto and Charon, a painting that has drawn plenty eyes since its inception in 1972. The painting, which we showcase in its various forms below, presents a look at one of Pluto's moons, Charon, from the perspective of being inside a cave. It evokes a sense of discovery and depth known to the curious wanderer that was David A. Hardy at the time, Pluto and Charon didn't contain Charon when first painted and only depicted the Sun, but it was updated to reflect the scientific finding shortly after. The phenomenon intrigued David, who went on to illustrate Pluto and its several moons from varying views.

Though Pluto is no longer officially a planet, it remains an awe-inspiring series in the catalog of David's works, works that have served as an inspiration to many with an asteroid being named after David himself. With Eternal Hails, DARKTHRONE breathe new life to a work renowned within the space art community, introducing it to viewers not privy of David's legacy as is the longest-established living space artist in the West.

We engage in a brief exchange with Fenriz and David A. Hardy to elaborate on what went into the cover selection:

Fenriz, a new album approaches and with it comes another magnificent album cover that further expands upon Darkthrone's visual identity. This isn't of course the first time you've found commonalities within an existing painting to the point where you've used it for the cover, as we saw with Chadwick St. John's painting for 'Old Star'. What drew you to this magnificent David A. Hardy painting for 'Eternal Hails'? Many have compared its cosmic qualities to 'Total Death' and 'Soulside Journey'.

Fenriz: It would be easy as Paul (Peaceville label manager) suggesting to have my "spaced out" title for the next album on THIS album, but it would be too obvious and perfect. I struggle with perfect. I like music to have friction, to find the diamond and not just get a diamond ring or whatever. 'Eternal Hails' was a standard ending of letters back in the day, be it 8