Darkthrone – Old Star Review

By: Ralka Skjerseth |

The Norwegian black metal act Darkthrone finally released their 17th studio album, Old Star, that was released under Peaceville Records. In this album, they incorporated elements of heavy metal, thrash metal, and death metal, and doom metal besides black metal that they are well known for. They have a pretty diverse alignment when it comes to their sounds; ever since the release of their 2006 album The Cult is Alive, they have been incorporating more eclectic changes in style such as elements of crust punk, speed metal, doom metal, and heavy metal. But for me, the crusty sounds that they implemented on their 2006-2008 releases such as The Cult is Alive, F.O.A.D, and Dark Thrones and Black Flags are the most memorable. Despite being one of the most renowned pioneers in the Norwegian black metal scene, they have a solid enough idealism to branch out to more diverse styles and experiments in sounds. I personally think that Darkthrone’s current materials have apparent resemblance to Impaled Nazarene, a Finnish extreme metal act that started as black metal but also incorporate grindcore and hardcore punk elements. Just that, Darkthrone’s sounds are on a slower pace. The convergence between black metal and punk roots is what makes those two kind of similar. However, on the album Old Star, there are more influences from doom metal elements that I can sense, a High on Fire-esque one. 

The first track “I Muffle Your Inner Choir” has a streaking bass line and an ominous guitar solo— it presents a groove that is impeccable in its own ways. The pace is steady and collected, and the song features a mid tempo chug. Both Nocturno Culto and Fenriz did a good job in combining their sounds altogether. Next up we have “The Hardship of the Scots” as the second track. It has heavy metal-esque anthemic vibes, and Nocturno Culto presents vocals that are similar to the one of Venom’s. In the beginning, tension is being built that it creates a consistent flow. It also features layered constructs and iconic shredding. During the last few minutes, the riffs build up into a climactic scene. The third track which is also a title track, “Old Star”, is a doom metal-influenced track with solid Sabbathian vibes. The fourth track, “Alp Man”, presents menacing riffs, and the tempo is dynamic. The fifth track, “Duke of Gloat” has riffs that are on high tempo, and appear blackened. Drums are on a consistent pace, until the pace of the whole song slows on a transition at around the third minute. The last track, “The Key is Inside the Wall”, has fast-paced, distorted riffs and mid-tempo stomp in the second half of the song, that appears heavy.

Darkthrone is far more than just a black metal acts; they have succeeded in breaking genre boundaries and they don’t limit themselves to one classification only. Low fidelity sound production remains intact as an integral part of their materials and that’s what makes them impeccable in their own way. 

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