Moore’s Law of Metal states that once a band reaches its creative peak it will halve the distance to its artistic roots every eighteen months. To my mind no band illustrates this better than DARKTHRONE. Ever since reaching their unholy creative peak with the trilogy of “A Blaze…”, “Under…” and “Transilvanian…”, this band have been regressing (I mean that in a good way) at a rather rapid pace. “Panzerfaust” was pure CELTIC FROST worship, while “Total Death” was an even drier and more basic work. After a brief hiatus the band returned with “Ravishing Grimness”, the first album that started to embrace the band’s more Punkish roots and the subsequent albums took this approach even further. But it wasn’t until this new album dropped that we could clearly see the abovementioned law come into full effect – the past three albums got systematically more and more basic in their sound and each took on a more Crust/Punk bent, with “The Cult Is Alive” being the culmination of this gradual ‘change’ in sound. DRKTHRONE 2k6 has more in common with old school Crust/crossover, the same influences that are evident in the early works of bands like HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST, DEATH STRIKE and VENOM. So, Fenriz and co did not only go back to their own band’s roots, but the roots of the entire Black Metal scene as well. While all these other faceless Black Metal bands are seemingly obsessed with being “grim” or symphonic to the extreme, our favorite Norwegian musical terrorists are quietly going about their own way and showing us all where they got their influences from and what spawned this great underground style in the first place. And they are doing it on their own terms. Not such a strange or erratic incident, now is it?
So, all you naysayers out there who are knocking this new album because it is “false” or “too Punky” should just (in the words of Fenriz) shut up and pay your respects where it’s due! Besides, this album isn’t some lame TSOL or MINOR THREAT copy, but rather a perfect Black Metal/Crust hybrid that is looking forward while also throwing more than a passing glance to the past. “The Cult Of Goliath” is a great Blackened monster, with it’s sped up parts and Nocturno Culto’s venomous rasps being very impressive. Other tracks that are guaranteed to satisfy the Black Metal purists include “Underdogs And Overlords” a very aggressive track with some very “Under A Funeral Moon” (the title track) guitar licks all over the place and the Thrashy “Whisky Funeral”. “Graveyard Slut” sees Fenriz taking over the vocals and although a very simplistic track, it has enough crossover appeal to please fans of both old SARCOFAGO and DISCHARGE. “Atomic Coming” is also another instant classic, especially the part where it speeds up midway throught and the Punky “Shut Up”, where the band attacks all the narrow-minded and poseurs among us. Great stuff! I could go on all day, but the truth is that every single track on here kick ass! The inclusion of more solos was also a masterstroke, as it has injected a bit more energy and atmosphere into proceedings and Fenriz’s lyrics are as impressive and arcane as always.
There, I have said what I felt needed to be said. Now you just have to go out there and grab a copy of this one for yourself – it’s really not as bad or as radical a departure from what you’d expect from this band. I, for one, love this DARKTHRONE that has finally allowed itself to show some attitude and balls…
All hail! (Online August 3, 2006)