The elder statesmen of Black Metal are back with a new album, an album which returns to a more traditional Black Metal style, as opposed to the somewhat crust-punk influences of previous albums. Having said that, Darkthrone are a band who've always dabbled with their sound, ever since the first album ("Soulside Journey"), which despite being a Death Metal album, contained glimpses of what would become the Black Metal that would bring much renown to the band. Mouthing off with dubious statements didn't help, but early 90's Black Metal was a fucked up place, here is hoping that all involved have managed to find peace and contentment whilst still being able to write excellent music. But does the band still have that edge when it comes to Black Metal, what with being a litle older and wiser? There's only one way to find out...
1) Tundra Leach - Opens up with a slow, almost Celtic Frost meets Black Sabbath-type riff and rumbling rhythms. Vocals then start croaking their way through like it's early 90's and churches are being burnt. Nice, fully powered rhythm guitar carries this song to a passage with more speed behind it. Not hyperfast like most Black Metal, but enough to get any orc headbanging. The riff before the end reminds me of 80's thrash. So, naturally, I love it!
2) Buial Bliss - Although the first song was pure Black Metal, this one is more hardcore punk, especially in terms of the drums. A nice D-Beat thing going on right here, which isn't really a surprise as Darkthrone have made ther last few albums with a D-Beat sound, or so a scan of the interwebz tells me. Can't really imagine hardcore punks playing in the snow though. Discharge themselves would be proud of this song! Vocals still sound like a wounded orc though, as is standard for BM.
3) Boreal Fields - Back to Black Metal on this one, nice, slow, atmospheric thing going down here. Pretty good stuff and another example of how Darkthrone are a master of this sort of thing. Some decent guitar theatrics towards the end. Almost like a solo!
4) Inbred Vermin - Sounds like the supporters of *insert name of rivals to your favourite sports team here*. Seriously, we've got another slice of old-school Black Metal on our hands here. The music is very well put together with a nice bit of punk thrown into the mix too. Sure to start a decent Circle Pit if Black Metal fans go in for that sort of thing.
5) Arctic Thunder - Reminds me of 80's metal, very good indeed. Tight riffs and nice change midway through the song. Sounds a bit like classic Iron Maiden at one point! Then just as it seems there's nowhere else to go, it goes back to the main riff which rounds things off nicely.
6) Throw Me Through The Marshes - Feels almost as thick and swampy as the marshes in question, this is another of those slow Black Metal songs which pile on the atmosphere. Things get a bit fast midway through and it's like the atmosphere becomes more tense. Definitely a song that the band have perfected.
7) Deep Lake Trespass - The Black Metal behemoth rumbles on with this song which starts off slow before a D-Beat injection soon propels it towards the finish line. Some fine music here, that's for sure. 80's-type metal riffs towards the end of the song too.
8) The Wyoming Distance - And here we are, the final track which rounds off a fantastic album in style. Starts off like it's going to be a scorching number before eventually settling into a mid-paced Black Metal atmosphere builder. Quite doomy too.
Well, that was a treat. This album will appeal to the person who likes their Black Metal to be GRIM, NECRO and KVLT (if people still go on like that these days) but also those who like D-Beat. It seems like Darkthrone were combining both worlds instead of just having one or the other, and the result was very welcoming. I can heartily recommend this album.
9/10 - Almost perfect. Almost.
Top Track: Inbred Vermin.
This album is available on iTunes.
Metal Archives as I couldn't find an official website...
Sadly, this album isn't on Spotify yet.