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Old-School Thrash from the Black Metal Masters - 96%

blackblood666, November 5th, 2007

This album is unfairly reviewed by most. While some “get it”, most just dismiss it. Well sorry folks, this isn’t another “Under a Funeral Moon” or “Transylvanian Hunger”. Get over it. If the listener can quit whining about it not sounding like their old albums, and actually listen to this one for what it is, they will realize that Darkthrone has released a really good album.

The sound of this album is defiantly old school thrash; however, it has a black metal twist that only Darkthrone can pull off. At this point in their career, Darkthrone feels they have nothing to prove and no one to impress. They are just making the albums that they want to make, and that deserves some respect. It’s admirable when a band makes music for themselves and not for the consumer. It’s the opposite of selling out, so I see no basis for the bitching of immature so called “true” black metal fans. The songs all pretty much have a similar sound; the style doesn’t jump too drastically from song to song. Most songs sound like either Venom, Motorhead, or Hellhammer/Celtic Frost songs filtered through Norwegian black metal sensibilities.

The vocals are one of my favorite parts of this album. Nocturno Culto’s voice seems to have changed a bit over the years, and mostly for the better, considering the tone of their recent output. More aggressive, less grim and cold. Very metal. Fenriz does more vocals on this album than usual (if you don’t count Goatlord) and he does a great job. The last album he sounded more punk, but this time around he sounds like Tom Warrior (on Canadian Metal) or Lemmy (on the title track).

The guitars on this album are really good. I’ve always loved the sound Nocturno Culto’s guitar. It’s very crunchy and high in the treble department, and I could listen to it all day long. It’s like music to my ears (literally). The riffs are amazing. Very thrashy, and very fun. Turn this album up and try not to bang your head along with songs like The Church of Real Metal and Raised on Rock.

The bass is audible, which is rare in black metal, but then again this isn’t actually a fully black metal album. Nothing interesting really going on with the bass, but it does its job well and sounds great.. Even though it’s a little simple and unimpressive, I wouldn’t change a thing. This isn’t the kind of album where the band is trying to impress everyone with their “skills”.

I enjoy the drums quite a bit. I have heard some complaints about Fenriz’s drumming. People say it’s too straightforward and ordinary. Listen up people, because I know this is going to blow your mind: Fenriz doesn’t care about impressing you. He plays to fit the music, not to make everyone go “wow he really is good!” He knows he’s good, he doesn’t need to prove it anymore.

Now on to the lyrics. They are the weakest part of the album. Most all of the songs deal with heavy metal or rock and roll. Not very imaginative, but then again they serve their purpose and fit the overall vibe of the album so it really isn’t so bad.

The production is, in a word, dirty. All the instruments can be heard clearly, yet it sounds rough enough to give it that old school, gritty, underground thrash feel that they were going for. For some reason though, Canadian Metal seems to be boosted in the bass department, so I have to turn the bass down when I listen to that song or else the music gets lost under the booming fuzz. All in all, the production is perfect and very appropriate.

Darkthrone’s 13th studio effort, F.O.A.D. (An acronym for Fuck Off And Die), is a heavy metal masterpiece. This is noting to be taken seriously, folks, so just pop in the CD and get ready to bang your head. This is old school, no bull-shit thrash. No pompous arrogance or attempts at pleasing the masses here. Just good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. Would you want it any other way?