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Well, it's okay... - 72%

stickyshooZ, August 2nd, 2004

I do not believe this to be as epic, much less good as most tend to make it out to be. This album is simply good, nothing more. Although I do take much more pleasure in listening to this over the tunes of the likes of other kvlter and tr00er bands, this is over worshipped. This is another black metal band which practices minimalist art, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I happen to like minimalism in many cases, but in this instance you may as well take the first sixty seconds of each song and then replay it for another two or three minutes; you’ll get the same effect as listening to an entire song.

Minimalism is not bad. Lack of variety is what erodes the greatness of this album and only forces me to ponder about how good this could have been. The band had the right idea; they just needed to expand upon it a little bit with more riffs. On the level of skill, I’m sure any guitar newbie could learn any of these songs, they aren’t hard to play. What makes this attractive more or less is the sheer nature of this recording.

The blurry production gives Darkthrone a bit of an advantage for their quest to sound as if they recorded Transilvanian Hunger while camping out in a forest on a snowy winter night. Actually, this sounds more like it was recorded in a studio, then that recording was recorded on a tape player if you want to be realistic. The vocals sound like a growl in vein of a rasp; Nocturno Culto somewhat resembles the late Mayhem singer, Dead, during songs like “Slottet I Det Fjerne” with his “ARRRGH!” Like the guitar playing, the drumming is pretty simple; Fenriz mainly just uses mid-paced blast beats. However, I happen to have a soft spot for the drumming here because of the way the non stop pounding adds a nice dosage of chaos to this album.

Even though the guitars are just fast strumming, there is a lot of melody within the simplicity. Yeah, the sound is cold and grim, but even that isn’t an excuse to cut corners like this. The guys in Darkthrone have a knick for creating good melody with little effort involved, but I know they could have done more with less recursive riffs to make this album really scream ‘epic’. This is worth owning if you’re a fan of black metal, without a doubt, but I wouldn’t call this essential by any means. If you hate repetitive minimalism then you may want to download this before you consider purchasing it.