Fenriz and Nocturno Culto are synonymous with black metal. All of their contributions as Darkthrone have helped to make Norway such a metal mecca. What more can they do as a twosome that they haven’t already achieved in 33 years as a band?
They have danced the line between d-beat, traditional metal and black metal for years. Maybe they will find that balance between black metal and doom, with some great atmosphere to top it all off this time around. If anybody can do it, then this dynamic duo can. Enter Old Star.
Right from the opening moments of “I Muffle Your Inner Choir,” it’s clear that this has an old school Darkthrone feel to it. Nocturno Culto sounds absolutely great and the riffs hit on all fronts. There is absolutely no doubt that this is vintage Norwegian black metal, far removed chronologically from its heyday.
“The Hardship of Scots” is markedly slower than the prior track. It plods along until its midsection fully realizes some excellent and emotive guitar work. The gallop, which feels like a battle ride, doesn’t need to speed up any further to get the message across. You can feel the swords clash and enemies felled.
The title track is particularly powerful and moving. Distant shouts tend to come from beyond, almost a narration over the aforementioned battlefield; a grim spectacle that it was. The raw emotion of the guitar riffs, played at the speed that they are really sell this feeling of existential dread: the cost of war.
Album closer “The Key Is Inside The Wall” has a notable punk feeling and brings fans closer to F.O.A.D and Dark Thrones and Black Flags as far as recent Darkthrone output is concerned. A good mix of styles really sum up what this album is all about.
In 2019 the black metal masters of Darkthrone have returned and given us their best album this decade next to The Underground Resistance. Old Star is one of the best albums this year regardless of genre and is easily a must listen. Do not miss this one!
(released May 31, 2019 on Peaceville Records)
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