Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Black Viscosity - 89%

marktheviktor, August 9th, 2008

For the last couple of full-lengths, Darkthrone has made it pretty clear that they are no longer much interested in playing straight black metal. If The Cult Is Alive was a charred serving of sheet fed crust, then F.O.A.D is pure sludge funneled from the mighty ‘Throne. The resulting commodity is pure black gold, plain and simple. While other bands are busy trying to “bake a cake” with their black metal, Darkthrone is only concerned with “making bread” as the band once famously stated. This album is the breaking of that bread, however sweet but succinct.

Fans still waiting for another Transilvanian Hunger will be left waiting in the ‘forest cold’. Let them freeze. And if those listeners have already gone on their “Hunger” strike by not picking up this delicious piece of pastiche by the dark duo, may they starve in that forest white because this is no St. “Hunger”. This is back-to-the-basics metal by a band who blackened the line between the thrash and black genres. In the early 1980’s, the space between that line was a dark yet dingy gunmetal grey area. With Transilvanian Hunger, they took black metal to a 180. With F.O.A.D they do a 360 to dwell in the dingy grey where it all started. Now, for most bands, this kind of skating is on a slippery slope on the thin ice of pretentiousness. But Fenriz and Nocturno Culto have demonstrated on this album that their influences are as immovable and crude as the Norwegian tundra itself.

The album kicks off with These Shores are Damned. Not only is this one of the best openers that I have heard in recent memory but this track, guitar-wise at least, is a thesis statement for the tone that will be set for the rest of the album. It contains a doom metal riff in the middle and towards the end of the song. Classic doom that is, none of the ridiculously down-tuned nonsense that pervades so many bands of the “doom death” metal variety. Those types are damned. Listening to this song, I only realized that These Shores Are Damned awesome and the metal marines have landed with a vengeance.

Besides being a fistful of hammy (Canadian Bacon?) dynamite that is Canadian Metal, Darkthrone messages two things with this song: 1.) Tom G. Warrior is a pure metal svengali and anyone who disagrees can jump in a cold lake. 2.) After 14 years, anyone who is stupid enough to expect F.O.A.D to be an exercise in puritanical grimness is as fickle as a Quaker during a Pennsylvanian hunger.

Upon hearing Church of Real Metal I thought to myself that this song could be called Cities on Flame with Black and Roll. This cut is just another sign of what the following songs will offer in attitude. The next song is Banners of Old. This track along with Splitkein Fever is as close to straight on black metal that you will hear on the album. Banners of Old is more black metal in its lyrical content than its structure. Splitkein Fever has the traditional cold tremolos that define the more characteristic works by DT. But if you listen closely to the bass and drum pacing along with the intentionally off key vocals, it still is very much an old hardcore punk song at heart as much as it is traditional black metal.

This brings us to Fuck Off and Die which is also the meat of the mantra on this record. This is also a song that never ceases to bring a smile to my face. If you don’t know the tribute here on this one, you better go back and listen to it again. Fenriz takes the vocals on here in what is one of the most genuine attempts at crude inspiration that I have had the pleasure to listen to on a metal record. Could we be seeing more of the enigmatic Hank Amarillo in future releases? Only time and tribute will tell.

Raised on Rock is another ubiquitous nod to Celtic Frost. It’s almost as amusing as the title track and it makes a good companion piece to it. It’s a fitting track to guide the caboose of the last two songs on this frozen freight train. If you listen to Pervertor of the 7 Gates and Wisdom of the Dead, you will be most pleased to discover the brilliant to-do-list: Give an IOU to you know who. Tip the Butler. Pay the Bill. Praise the Prince. If I need to spell that out to you then you shouldn’t be listening to metal.

F.O.A.D may not be as grim as the ashes but it’s as brash as the remnant chimney of a stave church that stands over them. And it’s still as black as the soot that lines it. Then again, Darkthrone needs no justification or apologists for their newest material. It is well known that they play music for themselves. I am only too happy to go along with their offerings of old school influences. No one has toppled the ‘Throne and it’s lonely at the top.