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Grimmer Than Art Thou... - 92%

OfBloodandIron, January 20th, 2004

This is by no means another Transilvanian Hunger or A Blaze in the Northern Sky(etc), but were we REALLY looking for one? I have yet to hear a Darkthrone album that I sat back and said, "You know what? This blows", but I've also come to understand that magic like TH comes every once in a pagan moon. This is just another worthwhile CD from the grimest of the grim, Darkthrone.

Rust - I respect Darkthrone in everyway possible, but dammit, why did they add this intro? No, it doesn't give me this "cold norwegian blizzard" feeling. It makes me get up and skip(fastforward) it until I hear a guitar. It only lasts 43 seconds, so I suppose it doesn't take away from the song too much. Once the music kicks it, everything is as it should be. Nocturno is top notch. Is there any way to truly describe his voice on this track? There's the right word out there somewhere, but let's just use the word "perfect" for now. The production is lacking (in true DT style), but it's a signature that we've all come to expect.

Det Svartner Nå - The guitars definitely shine on "Det Svartner Nå". Repetitive? Oh Yes. Hypnotic? Yes. Lacking? No. This is where the "cold norwegian blizzard" is. I love this song specifically for that rotating riff and the lyrics. Simple yet, well, striking. It takes a step back into the old days where killer riffs and lyrics with the word "satanic" in them made classics.

Fucked up and Ready to Die - My favorite song on this album. The lyrics, the riffs, and the God-like vocals. The guitars are slow and grinding as if they are leading the song into something. And they are. The song builds until it boils over and Fenriz kicks into furious drumming and the guitars become faster yet still grinding. Each lyric is amazing. "Let's leave this sinking ship together, The water of life will fill your lungs." No need to really explain that lyric as it foreshadows the entire song structure.

Ytterst I Livet - Another grinding song as it's predecessor was. The lyrics are obviously entirely in Norwegian. This is also a building song, but not quite as satisfying as "Fucked up and Ready to Die". Still a solid song, though, don't get me wrong. It builds and grinds on for about 4 minutes and then hits that climax that you're so desperately looking for. Fenriz breaks away from the mundane beats and bangs away while the guitars step out of the building monotony. The highlight carries on until the end of the song, but by the time it kicks in, the song is almost over. Probably my only problem with the album.

Divided We Stand - The opening for this song rocks. One of the three songs with Fenriz did both the music and the lyrics. Just another footnote on this album. Nothing spectacular. The guitars push the drums aside for this one as they own this track. Very repetitive, but very good. About a minute in, they bring about a true hateful listening experience. Nocturno does his part as he always does. I'd say something about him vocals in each track if it would make people understand that his black vocals are the best I've heard (possibly) ever.

Striving for a Piece of Lucifer - The combination of the lyrics and the music is amazing on this track. Apparently Nocturno and Fenriz were on the same page while creating this masterpiece. Cold, Grim, and Hateful. Everything black metal stands for. Obivously Darkthrone show that they're not planning on budging from being the black metal kings anytime soon. Once again Nocturno pulls his weight and more on this song, showing that I was correct when I say his vocals are black metal in every aspect.

In Honour of Thy Name - The guitars rip on this track with Fenriz banging on his set with true hate that anyone can feel just by listening to it. The song switches between the occassional slow, raw riffs and beats with Nocturno dragging out each hateful lyric, then suddenly switching to mind blowing pounding and distortion. I even like the outro. Imagine that. Classic Darkthrone. Something easily compared to the classics of the albums mentioned earlier. This does much justice to Darkthrone and all that they've accomplished.

So in the end, this album isn't innovative. It's not a step in a new direction or expressing some new musical taste. It's just Darkthrone doing what they do best. True Grim Black Metal.