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Originally written for Me Gusta Reviews. www.megustareviews.com
Darkthrone is one of the most notorious names within the heavy metal community. So notorious, in fact, that one cannot carry out a conversation about heavy metal without dropping the band "Darkthrone" once or twice (or so it seems). Along with the household name, the band is known for their unique attitude and for their strong ability to play whichever genre of metal that they wish. Not only can Darkthrone play whichever genre of metal they please, but they seem to blow "seasoned" bands, be it death metal bands, black metal bands, crust punk bands, and heavy metal bands (genres they have played in their respective order), out of the water! The much-anticipated release by this grim duo has been well worth the wait! The Underground Resistance not only pushes further into the genre of crust punk (the genre Darkthrone has been playing around with on recent past releases), but it delves further into the genres of heavy metal, all while holding on to the bands notable black metal sound.
Upon looking at the track list, I was surprised to see only 6 songs. Quickly overcoming my surprise and remembering that I was dealing with Darkthrone (they can do whatever they want), I quickly began listening to The Underground Resistance. One element of the album that was pleasing was the way Darkthrone arranged the songs. The band starts short and sweet and finishes in huge, grandiose fashion. What I mean by my previous sentence is that Darkthrone starts the album with 4 songs that all average out at the 4 minute mark and finish with 2 long songs (8 minutes and 13 minutes, respectively). Darkthrone wastes no time in setting the tone with "Dead Early". The killer groove that is established shortly after the songs midpoint is worth all the headbangs! Keeping with the opening pace, Darkthrone throws riff after tasty riff, build after successful build at the listener in preparation for the final 2 numbers, "Come Warfare, the Entire Doom" and "Leave No Cross Unturned". Along with "Dead Early", "Leave No Cross Unturned" is a song that I am particularly fond of. Darkthrone fill all 13 minutes and 50 secs of time with immense builds and excellent riffs; riffs reminiscent of the bands old school death metal and black metal days with some crust punk spice. Be advised, "Leave No Cross Unturned" will ruin your neck! A final note to the musical side of this album, it was mentioned above that the band pursued further into the heavy metal (traditional heavy metal) genre as well as crust punk. I say this because many of the vocal parts take direct influence from the NWOBHM, however the uses of such vocal stylings are tastefully placed to fit, and function, very well over a particular riff.
To back up these great tracks is some razor sharp production! Nothing is lost in this mix and the sound of the band is sharper than diamonds. On a final note, Darkthrone is able to sound great without sounding over produced. Nothing is flawless or "too perfect" sounding, the music leaves room to breathe, and a raw feel is accurately conveyed to the listener.
The drumming, well... Fenriz does what Fenriz does, and he does it well! Another great performance from a heavy metal veteran!
Honestly, I was not expecting to take to this album as strongly as I did. I have always been a fan of Darkthrones' black metal records more than anything else they have ever done. Hell, even their recent crust punk releases didn't really speak to me! Finally, I have found the crust punk Darkthrone album I enjoy, The Underground Resistance! Packed full of excellent songs, well crafted and well exceuted musical build-ups, and a tasteful mix of each members musical influences, Darkthrone have once again set a high bar in the crust punk community. Clearly, the band is not anywhere close to folding up their banner! Support Darkthrone by buying this album, and as much merchandise as your bank account allows!