Darkthrone – Old Star

Darkthrone
Old Star
Released 31st May 2019
Black Metal/Blackened Heavy Metal/Doom Metal
Released via Peaceville Records
Darkthrone - Old Star

My favorite Norwegian black metal duo are back with a new album. It is hard to keep track of all their releases. The one thing that I have always admired about them is that they do not follow any specific trend unlike many other bands in the extreme metal scene. Like where other black metal bands aim to shock, pile on more corpse-paint and act all grim and satanic; Darkthrone just do what they have always done. They play the style that suits them and they do not do live shows. If they release a music video, it might be a cartoon or just clips of Nocturno Culto or Fenriz hanging around in the woods or jamming the studio. Oh and they haven’t worn corpse-paint since the mid-1990s.

I enjoyed their previous studio effort ‘Arctic Thunder’, so I have high hopes for this one. These guys are no strangers when it comes to experimenting with other music genres. Even though Darkthrone are best known for the early black metal works, if you re-visit their discography you will find everything ranging from death metal, black metal to Motörhead-style heavy metal, speed metal to crust punk. Their latest piece of work bears some similarity to its predecessor ‘Arctic Thunder’, only this time there are some doom metal parts added to the mix.

Take the Alp Man for instance. It’s probably my least favorite track on here and one of the slower ones. It is a little too doom metal -inspired for my liking. While I have no problem with the odd droning guitar riff and slow drumming, this one just doesn’t seem to get going at all. It might have worked for bands like Tiamat or even Entombed in the past, it’s a little too slow for Darkthrone. Luckily the rest of the songs are much more to my liking. Overall, my favourite song is the opener I Muffle Your Inner Choir. I really like Nocturno Culto’s rocking guitar riffs on Duke of Gloat. The drum work on it is pretty good too. Then there is The Hardship of The Scots with its unique blend of doom metal, heavy metal and black-thrash metal to illustrate the other end of the spectrum. It took a while to get going, and I particularly enjoyed the rhythm guitar passage towards the latter half of the song.

In summary, ‘Old Star’ is another solid album from the Norwegian black metal duo. It has its flaws but overall I am pleased to say that it was worth the wait. I’m not sure what to call this style… “Blackened heavy, death metal with hints of doom metal…” To hell with genre categorization! It’s Darkthrone, doing what they do best. Rock on!

4/5

Iza Raittila

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