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Sorry, but it has to be a joke - 20%

Sean16, October 10th, 2006

Because frankly I don’t think anyone, Fenriz included, could have ever taken this release seriously. I’ve always had trouble considering Darkthrone themselves as more than a complete joke to begin with, but I abandon it to black metal specialists. However this is supposed to be half folk metal, so I guess it more or less falls into my realm, though I now wish I had never crossed the way of this parody of an album.

First of all, this release lacks of the most elementary coherence. I wrote “half folk metal”, and indeed this could apply to the first five songs, but the last two ones are pure black metal, with screaming vocals, blastbeats and everything one generally associates with the genre. So tell me, what’s the meaning of this? If I wanted to hear Fenriz playing black metal, I would have listened to a Darkthrone album, period. Now I won’t develop more on those two tracks to focus on what was supposed to be the main interest of this release, the folk-inspired tracks. But unfortunately they suck so much they can’t redeem the BM tracks a single bit.

I don’t know how much time Fenriz spent on this work, but let’s just admit he doesn’t seem to have involved much effort in the songwriting as well as the recording. On the songwriting first, I can barely think of songs simpler than those. All of them consist in the same melody repeated ad nauseam, when there’s of course an actual melody to be heard through those painful and clumsy guitar lines. Do you really call music those two keyboard notes on which is built I Ei Gran Borti Nordre Asen, which are endlessly repeated during not less than 3.5 minutes? And don’t tell me Fenriz actually WROTE his vocal lines before recording, they reek far too much of crappy improvisation, as most of the album if one think of it half a minute.

Not only one struggles to find a sketch of a vocal line, but the voice itself is unbearable. Indeed, this is a clean voice. Of the worst sort you could think about, the voice of some drunken retard, most of time off-key if there’s a key to be found somewhere, this album overall sounding like the perfect negation of any music. And when you know the atrocious second track is entirely a capella, it gives you an idea of the kind of torture it is. Besides, I really wonder if Fenriz is even able to use a mike properly, as vocals often seem to go back and forth in the mix for no obvious reason, without mentioning the high amount of parasite noise. Eventually, most vocals consists in some shitty chant – something like aaaaah aaaah aaaaah aah, you really have to listen to it to believe it – as if he didn’t bother for writing lyrics. There are some, occasionally, but as they’re in Norwegian I’m unable to judge their intellectual content, though I guess I’m not missing very much.

The instrumental mastery is on the same level the vocals are, simply because it can’t be lower. Not only the songs are atrociously easy as stated before, but he doesn’t even seem to be able to perform them correctly. Fenriz is Darkthrone’s drummer, isn’t he? Thus I suppose at least the drums should have sounded decent. They aren’t, or better, what you may hear of them, lost in the shamefully raw production, isn’t. Note that there aren’t drums on every track, but when there are they consist in some basic 2/4 beat without almost any variation, something the most badly programmed machine could have done.

Finally as I said the production is abysmal as well, but considering there’s nothing worthwhile to be heard there anyway, I wouldn’t have given a fuck for a cleaner sound. I may recommend this release to anyone who feels like jerking off on anything Darkthrone-related, otherwise, just avoid. I give it 20% for a good reason though: the first time I listened to it this album, it made me laugh as I think music never did before. That alone is worth a small reward, isn’t it?

Highlights: what are you expecting?