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Fantastic compilation, terrible organisation - 90%

The_Grand_Destructor, June 5th, 2007

The problem with compiling any best-of is that you have two equally important markets to satisfy – on the one hand, you have the long-time fans who probably own most of the albums who will want to see all of the best songs there and something new, on the other hand you have the potential fans and casual listeners, who want the band’s “key” songs to get started with. Luckily, Darkthrone’s Preparing For War strikes that lucky balance. Having previously only really heard a jumble of MP3s and the 30 second samples HMV allows people to listen to of their albums I can honestly say, as a potential fan, its worked. The first five Darkthrone albums are all now on my list of CDs to get, furthermore, everything I’ve read seems to suggest the songs here satisfy the long-term fans as well. In particular there are two demos and a couple rare live tracks, making it a very attractive package indeed for the fan who has everything else.

However, the album is really let down by one thing – pacing. Nobody wants a 9 minute demo instrumental as the second song to a compilation – even the long-term fans expect the rough demos to close the record and (frankly) its just plain off-putting to the new listener. The whole album is a mess, with what seems to be no thought put into organisation. Its not chronological, its not in order of “biggest hits,” in fact, I can’t see any rational method of organising a CD which would have ended up anything like this.

Beyond this, however, there’s not really much to argue with (except the obvious fact it contains nothing Panzerfaust onwards, due to this being a compilation by the label which released their first four albums). If you know anything about Darkthrone you know what to expect – rough, raw, fast black metal with bare-bones production. If you like that sorta music you’ll like this, if you don’t, you won’t. Simple as. Everything is what you’d expect from one of the most important black metal (well, death metal on their debut Soulside Journey) bands in the universe.

On the whole, what you have here is a solid collection of fine songs by a legendary band, all of which are highly listenable if this is your kind of thing, its just a bit messy in terms of order. For this reason I’d recommend putting it on computer, making a playlist, moving a few songs about (in particular Snowfall) to an order that makes a bit more sense to your ears and enjoy!