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So here we are with yet another release from the iconic Darkthrone. As expected, the band has taken another step towards a blackened crust punk sound, as can be witnessed by their previous work; F.O.A.D. and DTBF. Their new sound is quite a departure from what was present in their older albums when they played black metal, but by no means should this album be ignored. If you are one of those people who believe that Darkthrone died after A Blaze in the Northern Sky or Transilvanian Hunger then leave this album alone, because in no way is this album a return to those days.
Although some riffs seem reminiscent of the two previous albums, many new ideas and riffs are brought forward to this album. The skill of any one instrument on Circle the Wagons would not stand out by itself, as none of them are played with extreme precision or speed like some modern metal counterparts; but that is not to say the overall sound isn’t great. The point of a band is not to have one person wanking over the rest of the group’s background noise. You even get to hear some clean vocals on a few tracks, which aren’t exactly my favourite part, but are done rather well. When placed together, all instruments do their part and contribute to some incredible music. Nothing is over-done.
Circle the Wagons does at great job for what it is. Clocking in at a little over 40 minutes, it is a complete assault on the senses of pure blackened punk. The song writing skills of Nocturno Culto and Fenriz are astounding and they never seem to let you down. Inspired by ‘80s metal, the music is straight to the point. This album stands as a big ‘Fuck You’ to modern metal, and attempts to bring it back to its roots. The riffs are filled with raw power and the musicianship is aggressive. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Darkthrone, either.
Considering the ever-so diminishing black metal sound in their music, Darkthrone continues to push the envelope by releasing yet another quality album. Only ignorant elitists who can’t get over the fact that Darkthrone’s sound is evolving should forget about Circle the Wagons. Check it out, you shouldn’t be disappointed.
Highlights: Running for Borders, Black Metal Totem, I Am the Working Class, Eyes Burst at Dawn
Written for http://www.britof.net/zine/