Dark Thrones and Black Flags

Written by: EW on 08/02/2009 11:16:39

Forgive my touch of fanboy worship here but I'm willing to argue that there is no one cooler in the world of Metal than the duo of Mr. Ted Skjellum and Mr. Gylve Nagell, Nocturno Culto and Fenriz to you and I, than perhaps Lemmy Kilmister. As I should hope you know of my dislike for elitist black metallers by now that statement infact means I don't worship at the altar (great that it may be) of 1994's "Transilvanian Hunger" like the thousands of identikit bands out there, but more appreciate the 'realness' of said duo, who speak their mind and have the balls to do what the fuck they want. You'll see many bands who say no outside influences have affected their output yet they have 'conveniently' jumped ship to the current trend, but with Darkthrone you know it's true. Not giving a toss about the elitists out there and willing to accept their non-black metal and even non-metal influences, Darkthrone have found themselves a new identity and direction the latter half of this decade by combining the raw and harsh black metal that has always been their forte (excluding the death metal debut "Soulside Journey") with punk and classic metal influences in recognition of from whence they, and black metal, came.

Album number 14 "Dark Thrones and Black Flags" simply expands on what "The Cult Is Alive" and "F.O.A.D." have laid out in the most unpretentious of manners, featuring no irony in a sound terrifyingly 'amateur' and unpolished that will instantly see the majority spit it out in derision. But give it a second please - isn't it nice to hear a band record music purely for the very simple pleasure of recording music itself, playing very much within their abilities and not layering it in special effects and undignified sounds and samples? Listen to "Hanging Out In Haiger" - it has the essence of the classic NWOBHM/Accept template with the added bonus of some serious crust and the smell of last night's whiskey that should surely contain nothing anyone into raw black metal or NWOBHM can't tolerate. Much the same can be said of the rest of "Dark Thrones..." - there is no overt technicality, no polish and nothing pretty about it, but the glory of Darkthrone is precisely in those packages.

Opener "The Winds They Called The Dungeon Shaker" is symbolic of the pace and metallic nature of Darkthrone these days, with more than competent riffs seizing the moment from Nocturno and Fenriz hammering out simple but effective drum patterns resulting in an album that is pleasurable from the first listen. "Death Of All Oaths (Oath Minus)" hones the darker, grizzlier (to steal a Darkthrone term) nature of their output due mainly to Nocturno's coruscating howl, while "Hiking Metal Punks", based on Fenriz's passion for hiking in the Norwegian mountains, is punk to the T. More punk infact than most 'punk' bands I've heard in recent times.

"Dark Thrones and Black Flags" is no great departure from "F.O.A.D." and to choose a favourite is very much a personal choice. For me, "F.O.A.D." edges out "Dark Thrones...", but not without album 14 giving it a run for it's money. Darkthrone make fun, caustic black metal for those who live life eternal and have the balls to show it.

Download: Hiking Metal Punks, The Winds They Called The Dungeon Shaker
For The Fans Of: Burzum and Aura Noir through to Discharge
Listen: Myspace
Buy: iTunes

Release date: 20.10.08
Peaceville Recordings

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