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blackoz, October 14th, 2007

I love EP’s. Maybe it’s because the first record I got as a kid was a Beatle EP in the early 60’s. My test for a good EP is if you play it twice right through when you first get it. I played “NWOBHM” two and a half times.

A listening tip: play this on the best quality system you can. It’s tempting to think that, because Darkthrone goes for a lo-fi sound, there’s not much in there and that any cheap plastic system will do. Not so. Minimal production doesn’t mean bad production.

A case in point is the first track, a much bigger and fatter version of “Wisdom of the Dead”, the last track on the new album “F.O.A.D.”. It’s a whopping, all-encompassing sound, full of heavyweight punch, the vocals more close-mic’d and intimate – if I can use that word with Darkthrone – than the album version. A fabulous track with great riffs that recall the dense textures of the old days.

“Canadian Metal” follows, pretty well identical to the album version but with different vocals (no pub chorus, basically). If you’re not planning to buy the album, at least with this EP you get one of its best tracks, one you can really headbang to in front of the hi-fi.

The standout part of the third track, “Hedninger Fra Helvete” is the chiming coda which kicks in around 3:50. It lasts only a bit over a minute but it’s a gem, the bass climbing the fretboard to support the suspended chords. Very atmospheric.

The last full-length showed that at least one ventricle in Darkthrone’s black heart is consecrated to punk and the final track here, a cover of Testors’ “Bad Attitude”, proves it, if proof were needed. Again, on the best system, this rocks like hell, a short and fitting end to a solid and engaging fifteen minutes of black ’n’ roll.

It’s hard to disagree with antipath’s review of this disc. Viewed from the logical standpoint of musical history, this EP looks a cheap and cynical knock-off from a band way past its prime. Trouble is, my foot taps involuntarily every time I put it on, I bash away on the steering wheel with the frenzy of Fenriz when I play it in the car (not recommended for younger drivers) and my family is sick to death of me bopping around the house warbling “Ca-nay-dee-un Meta-aaahhhl”. In short, it’s a rocking little disc.

When it comes to a conflict over Darkthrone between my brain and my foot, the foot wins every time.