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Having taken to playing for several albums in a punk-influenced style, this new Darkthrone release takes yet another anthological look at what originally inspired them, then to be thrown into a modern framework.
This has made for mildly entertaining material at times, though on an artistic level will never eclipse any of their material from ‘Soulside Journey’ through to ‘Panzerfaust’.
Notable on here is the exchange here between Nocturno Culto and Fenriz for individual songwriting. The former goes for more atavistic, punk and thrash influenced compositions and a Tom G Warrior esque vocal, whilst the latter takes a strong aversion toward traditional metal and a doom influence that recalls work with Isengard, using clean sung vocals.
At it’s most aggressive, some of the riffs used are very much akin to the Celtic Frost inspired motifs on ‘Panzerfaust’ or ‘A Blaze In The Northern Sky’, some riffs even having nuances of the techniques on earlier Bathory albums, but often sound as if they were just thrown in as a sole means to please old school nostalgics.
For certain, the aesthetic alone will tick the right values for those seeking a record that is merely there to be enjoyed, but the depth and atmosphere that made Darkthrone essential years ago is gone here.
For instance, the first breakdown riff of ‘Leave No Cross Unturned’ sounds identical to the opening riff of ‘In The Shadow Of The Horns’, though is ill-fitting with an otherwise entertaining heavy metal song that early on recalls the likes of Omen, Agent Steel or Brocas Helm, only to wear out it’s welcome mid-way through its 14 minutes.
There are short moments of excellence, such as the mid-section of ‘The Ones You Left Behind’, with a quite resonating melodic lead, but it all seems stuck in a plethora of drudging motifs that merely entertain, but never transcend it any further.
Where newer bands like the NWOBHM inclined Enforcer and the now on-hold Hour Of 13 have put out work that treads old ground with clarity, Darkthrone sound muddled and confused.
The term ‘every dog has its day’ flashes heavily when listening to ‘The Underground Resistance’. It’s symbolic of a band totally bereft of ideas. Whilst they have more or less admitted to taking on a ‘give less of a fuck’ attitude, the sense of continuity wears itself thin quite fast.