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F.rom O.ld A.rchaic D.esserts - 70%

Felix 1666, November 13th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Peaceville Records (Super jewel box)

A few albums offer fantastic tracks exclusively, some outputs present just good stuff in a pretty homogeneous manner. A third category gathers the albums whose tracks vary widely in terms of quality. The last type of albums is difficult to evaluate. Thank God, "F.O.A.D." gives me the chance to practice the description of these works.

Darkthrone have written some excellent tracks and the production is powerful and smelly at the same time. It displays a fairly adequate sound, albeit the album was recorded during a lot of different sessions. The result is that the production wins no award for homogeneity or consistency. But this shortcoming is widely compensated by the special attitude of the Norwegians. They were never afraid of a more or less rotten mix. This way of thinking also affects "F.O.A.D.". Due to the slightly mouldy character of the sound, the songs do not lack of a certain quantum of dirt. It fits the nasty guitar work that drives the highlights of the album. For example, the forcefulness of the riff which leads to the chorus of "The Church of Real Metal" is simply brilliant. It finds its way through the ear canals into the darkest corner of the brain in an irresistible manner and says that it has come to stay. The solo orgy at the end breaks the chains of the strict configuration of the track and adds the final touch. Fenriz and Nocturno Culto behave like snotty brats who do whatever they want. In this case, the outcome is more than impressive. In other cases, the stubbornness of the crude duo leads to relatively meaningless results, as much as I regret it. The album suffers from a handful of songs which fail to come to the point.

Thank God, the amazing "Canadian Metal" does not belong to these tracks. Quite the opposite, this star sparkles brightly at the dark and cold Norwegian firmament. Its lyrics praise the metallic pioneers from - surprise, surprise - Canada. In accordance with this historic issue, the straight track appears as a trip into the past. Endowed with an iota of insanity, both the leads and the chorus are absolutely ingenious and the band seems to fly at the end of the song. A fascinating outburst of primordial vehemence. Too bad that the majority of the remaining songs dwell in the realm of mediocrity. Neckbreaking riffs and memorable moments hardly emerge. Instead, insufficient guitars and a lack of coherent song-writing show up. Tunes like "The Banners of Old" pass by without leaving any trace and the slightly punk influenced riffing of the title track does not yield an impact as well. More tracks remain inconspicuous or suffer slightly from the crude humour of the band (the fairly acceptable "Raised on Rock" reveals a more or less moronic vocal performance). Only the two already described highlights, the grumpy opener and the solid "Splitkein Fever" keep the album above water.

Compared with their groundbreaking albums, "F.O.A.D." stays in the background. It is no flop, but too many songs fail to enthuse me. They seem to be carelessly designed. I do not wish to offend the duo, but it is difficult to avoid this impression. The band should take this seriously, because a credible, down-to-earth attitude belongs to its greatest assets and archaic songs that try to preach the rules of the old school deserve exactly this kind of attitude. This is the tragedy of "F.O.A.D.": all of its tracks originate from the dusty heavy metal wastelands, but some of them just do not work.