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Released just over a month before Darkthrone's 12th full-length The Cult is Alive, the Too Old, Too Cold EP served as a satisfying teaser for the short span of weeks that led to that album's release. 75% of the material here is unique to the EP, if you count the alternate version of "Graveyard Slut", and while I tend to rue the shortplay format (in particular the single), there is enough value here that you should grab it if you are a fan and have a few bucks to spare; it was available as both a CD release and a limited 12" vinyl. One thing that strikes me about the material here is that it truly marks the band's evolution into a self-identifying mockery of trends and stupidity that had overtaken the black metal 'industry' by this point, with bands exploring all avenues of hybridization, fashion, and accessibility, while every one with a guitar, a basic computer set-up and a copy of Transilvanian Hunger had already been churning out homemade black metal recordings for years.
And thus begins the 'punk' phase of Darkthrone, which is still filthy, rotten to the core, and entirely loyal to their formative aesthetics, it simply rocks a little harder and makes you want to impale someone on your wrist spikes. The lyrics to "Too Old, Too Cold" are hilariously lowbrow and I might even say awkwardly awesome, but the song is oodles of fun, with a few huge black/rock riffs and a good old bendy, doomish traipse into the bridge section which is vintage early 90s 'throne. "High On Cold War" is the best exclusive offering on the EP, a raging black/punk piece with infernal Hellhammer grooves and a guest vocal spot from none other than Grutle Kjellson of Enslaved. What more could you ask for? I've often ruminated on just how cool an Enslaved/Darkthrone collaboration would be as a permanent fixture, and this is but a sampling, as Grutle's voice perfectly compliments the style. This track totally inspired me to start kicking things, as there were no politicians or religious figures about I had to settle for a brick wall.
The next track was completely unexpected, a rousing and filthy adaptation of Siouxsie & the Banshees' "Love in a Void", which had me slapping my knees it is so great. The vocals are a riot, yet strangely enough they feel completely compelling and loyal, and I like to imagine Siouxsie Sioux listening to this and enjoying it as much as any Darkthrone fan. Though the version of "Graveyard Slut" present on the EP is tagged as different than found on the LP, it's really not, aside from the vocals, which are far more blackish here than the Tom G. Warrior style used on the full-length. At any rate, this is a great song, dirty and smutty and dripping with underground credibility, one of the best on The Cult is Alive, so alongside "Too Old, Too Cold" it was enough to get the heart racing in anticipation.
I personally think this is worth having, at least for the cover tune and the Grutle Kjellson appearance on "High On Cold War", but the value is not extremely high, especially with the album to come rendering two of the tracks redundant. If there ever were a re-release of The Cult is Alive with the two unique tunes as bonus tracks, I'd advise you to pick that up instead.
Of all the Norwegian Second Wave black metal bands, Darkthrone has one of, if not the biggest, discography out there, putting out albums almost each year. The last few of those have taken the band on a unique path, unknown to any of their fellow bands: black metal mixed with punk, all in an unmistakable old-school shell. Although somewhat apparent on albums such as Sardonic Wrath and Hate Them, the punk sound truly became obvious on the subsequent album, The Cult is Alive, and on this, the preceding EP, Too Old Too Cold.
From the first few seconds of this EP’s title track it’s obvious what this is going to be: black metal morphed into a rocking, punk-influenced form of music that is so unique to modern Darkthrone. The riffs are rather catchy throughout, driving the music forward and showing Fenriz’s fascination with old thrash, punk and even rock and how he was influenced by said genres during these last few years. Here Fenriz’s drumming has nothing more to do with the droning, repetitive style of Transilvanian Hunger, instead being quite varied and highly reminiscent of 80’s punk and metal, mostly thrash.
High on Cold War is much less catchy and a lot harsher than the title track, as well as having vocals by Enslaved’s Grutle, who fits into the music perfectly. It starts off with a weird-sounding guitar solo and then continues as a sort of harsh punk/black metal hybrid song with a rather noisy guitar tone throughout. Like the title track, this is played very fast until around the last minute of the song, when everything slows down to a quasi-doom atmosphere.
The third track is also the definite highlight on the EP: Love in a Void, a cover of an old British punk rock band from the late 1970s, Siouxsie & the Banshees. The original is pure punk from the band’s early years, complete with female vocals and all. The Darkthrone version is rather different, obviously so from a vocal standpoint (Nocturno Culto may sound like a lot of things, but a woman is not one of them) but also in other respects. The instrumental work is louder and faster but the production’s a bit worse and it sounds, well, a lot more black metal than the original, which really have a 100% punk vibe going on. All in all the cover is significantly different from the original: production, vocals, tempo, drumming, guitars, everything really. That said, the song still rocks pretty damn hard and it’s nice to see Darkthrone covering stuff one wouldn’t expect from a black metal band.
Finally we have Graveyard Slut, here a different version from the one on the album. From the moment I’d heard it I wasn’t terribly impressed with this song’s approach but I must admit, the instrumental work is exemplary, very well played and the riffs are fun to listen to. It’s just the whole yelling of “Graveyard Slut!” with the occasional “Graveyard Bitch!” thrown in for variation which makes this song seem a bit… too simple, even stupid, although this is new Darkthrone and I guess that it’s meant to be that way.
Too Old Too Cold can be considered the first example of Darkthrone’s new side and as such it’s significant for the band’s history. Additionally, the EP is pretty damn good, fun to listen to, and, for myself at least, an indication that modern Darkthrone is something worth checking out because it rocks. Hard.
Darkthrone gets a lot of negativity from the black metal purists for their recent material over the years. Either with their albums itself being too generic and boring and same old, to their more recent stuff which mixes a bit of punk sounding drum styles and motorhead worship into the mix. It's clear from this EP though their more recent direction is worth exploring just a bit, at least from this recording. While I've only vaguely listened to a few things following the likes of Ravishing Grimness and Plaguewielder, what i've been hearing more recently from their new material is definitely a direction worth looking into by any real fans of this band.
This is what new Darkthrone is defined as on this EP. Yes, we'll all remember Darkthrone for the likes of the brilliant albums during the prime between 1992-1995 with albums like A Blaze in the Northern Sky, Under a Funeral Moon, their most recognized Transilvanian Hunger, and the underrated cold classic Panzerfaust. For those who have listened to these albums for years you'll always recognize Darkthrone for that as well as their early Death Metal too. Even I listen to this albums constantly since i heard them for the first time 5 or 6 years ago, however that's not to disregard their new stuff.
This album is a balanced mix between their old school black metal roots with the likes of Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, and Bathory which is especially evident on the first side of this album. Two very short as well as very attention grabbing songs which are memorable in the same way that the first wave black metal albums are remembered, and definitely songs that would be enjoyed by anyone who loves black metal as it was before the norwegian second wave. The second side of this record is more their newer direction and influence with a sort of crust punk style and sound reminiscent of old school punk riffs and the vocals a combination of both. I'm sure Darkthrone gets a lot of grief for this new stuff. It's nothing amazing at a first listen but the sound grows on you, especially if you already dig the sound of old school punk in the first place. If you're strictly into metal or black metal though then this new direction may not be for you.
Definitely an interesting new direction. One that may take getting used to, but I definitely like how this turned out and makes me even more interested to check out what i've missed from darkthrone on albums like Hate Them, Sardonic Wrath, The Cult is Alive, and FOAD. Once again Darkthrone has reinvented their sound, remained dedicated to old school, and brought out new stuff that is very kickass to listen to. This stuff really has the balls we need in metal once again!
Excellent first single from these conservative old school freaks! "Nothing to prove", my ass. Of course Fenriz and Culto prove again that flutes and synths are not their way of expression, but only crushing raw riffs, necro pounding and dictator vocals, spreading the curse to all fakeness. And that's what "Too Old, Too Cold" is filled with, indeed. The self-titled track has the great touch of old 80's crust punk bands like Discharge, Anti-Cimex, Riistetyt, Svart Parad, Amebix etc., and combined with the "tired-of-all-modern-shit" verses by Fenriz, it sounds like a real bomb at the centre of nowaday's scene. "High On Cold War" begins as a classic (ha!) punk riff and murderous solo by Culto, but when he and Grutle (from Enslaved) both start to shout insanely, you know that this definitely ain't Dimmu Borgir. Also excellent lyrics. The cover version of Siouxsie And The Banshees is incredible masterpiece - all those perverted "singing" and real PRESENCE of attitude! The fourth track - "Graveyard Slut" is another iron punkfist, reminding very much of Chris Reifert's Abscess and the good old Deathstrike. Here Nocturno Culto performs another nerves-cutting solo.
This single is total masterpiece - a masterpiece of regression and homage to the roots of old school black metal. "Depends on who's listening", wrote Culto, and that's the key to understand this act, made by Darkthrone. Once they negated the commercialism of death metal and turned back to 80's spirit of harsh black metal. Now they say "fuck off" to commercial theatric "black metal" and go backwards again - to the very depths of chaos and nihilism in rock (anti)music - the PUNK. They started it in "Hate Them", and now they finish their unholy deed. Too rusty, too crusty for the new wannabies, too old and too cold to deal with "kvlt" avantguardism and other keyboard crap.
Nothing to prove, just a HELLISH rock'n'roll freaks! All hail to them!
(I give 98% because Fenriz once stated, that doing cover versions is some fucked up thing... He went wrong. But damn, who cares at all??! he does cover versions the way they should be done - GREAT!)
I am sure that this is not going to be one of my personal most listened albums. Compared to this shit, Plaguewielder was the greatest masterpiece recorded ever, what should we say about Transylvanian Hunger, Under A Funeral Moon and the others...?
I really don't know, what the fuck were Fenriz & Nocturno thinking at when recording this?
"Yeah, we're old."
"Yeah, we're cold."
"Alright. St. Black Anger, there you go!"
No black metal to be found here. Absolutely none, null, zero. Too Old, Too Cold starts with a pretty fast Hellhammer reminding awful punkish speedy blasting and slows down the crap in the second part, with Nocturno screaming that fucking line:"Too old! Too cold!". The riffs have a pure punkish tone, Sex Pistols of black metal, or The Dwarves of black metal, take it as you want. High On Cold War was the best on this, with some screaming nice solos and a good old rocking riff. Fenriz starts with a heavy metal beat, then turns the beat to a part like the more punkish stuff on A Blaze In The Northern Sky. I liked also the vocals in general, raspy and very agressive for an old quasi-kvlt-gone-ass band. Love In A Void and da Graveyard Slut were the same crap, punky anthems, meaning a cover of a bullshit band with shitty clean vocals (Rammstein with dynamite in their asses) and a primitive pointless noisy track with the title in the refrain (Graveyard Sluutt!). The percussion was the weakest of the weakest, none of Fenriz' blastbeats that I loved so much were present here. Fuck it.
I give this 10 percent for the vocal performance (except Dick In A Void), and 1 percent for Graveyard Slut. You know, I am Romanian and in my country jokes with graveyard bitches are very tasty and popular.
First of all let me start by a huge laugh from the depths of my heart:
Now let me explain what this was all about. Let me explain, in some kind of way, how it is possible for me to take back everything indecent I said towards Darkthrone and finally respect them like there is no other. But above all, let me explain about the huge leap that a band has to do to prove their worth; they kind of leap that this band was always capable of but all so scared to do.
Too Old, Too Cold, above all, is pure black metal. It's not black metal like the kind of thing that you expect the youngster kvlt kids to play, no sir. This is black metal played by pioneers and directed at those who can pay attention. It's black metal with a formed opinion, black metal that is rectifying the mistakes of the old, the yound and unnecessary mixture of wrong ideals and directions. In a retrospect, it is real black metal because it is there to destroy everything that you held holy or as a standard and take you down with it.
If you like bands like Ancient of God Loves The Dead, Carpathian Forest in Black Shining Leather, Necromantia in Scarlet Evil Witchin Black or even Satyricon in Rebel Extravaganza then you know exactly what to expect. Although Too Old, Too Cold will probably exceed your wildest expectations, as it manages to stand by those releases as a proud brother and in some ways exceed them.
If you believe that black metal is old Darkthrone, old Mayhem or whatever else in that direction, it is about time to wake up and realize what is going on. How black metal was never meant to be a one-off slap in the industry of music. How there just needed to be a second coming; a better one I must add, to achieve anything. If you are not one of those kids, for whom I could barely even care to be quite honest, then listen to this and you will agree with me.
Musically, everything is played from two different perspectives. For Darkthrone's standards, this is technical as hell. Hell, even for all the bands mentioned above, this is still technical as hell. But at the same time, everything is old school, sending down that warm (or is it cold? HA!) old feeling of bands like AC/DC, Motorhead, Hellhammer and the good old punk of the 70s. The playing is spot on, with some of the best riffs you are going to listen to and the vocals are simply perfect. Further proof that Nocturno Culto is up there with Nattefrost, Lord Kaiaphas and Isahn in terms of vocals. The single contains three tracks, along with the necessary (and amazing I might say) cover chosen to demonstrate the new sound of the band very carefully. I won't say much more on that; just listen and find out for yourself what this band is!
I have been constantly bashing Darkthrone. I think Transylvanian Hunger is a joke. But they showed some sincere signs of being a band much better than I could think with Hate Them and Sardonic Wrath. And while those releases were very solid and almost up to par with Ablaze In The Northern Sky, there was still something missing. It was the proof that Darkthrone can be something beyond good lyrics, a hateful feeling and an old attempt to remain "cult".
I would have never thought that they would decide to change in such a way. They proved that what was missing, was balls; and I can finally say that this is all the proof people like me needed to realize that Darkthrone have balls. Balls to write good music. Balls to write real metal. Balls to admit that they have nothing to prove. Balls to admit that all those who call the crap they are listing to "Black Meta" are lame. Balls to go back to the real roots of genre and play Punk/Thrash with passion.
And above all, balls to take a bold direction towards the sound they were always born to play. Which is that sound that's too old, too cold, and the sound that nobody can ever forget; if they know what real metal is all about.
I am anticipating The Cult Is Alive, and it will be album of the year. Of that I am sure of. Hats of to Darkthrone.