If you've been following the Black Metal scene at all the last ten years, you know that DARKTHRONE's newest effort isn't going to sound like «Transilvanian Hunger» this time either. Stop complaining, there are more bands than you'll ever have time to check out who copy that characteristic cold sound with varying degrees of quality. Somehow it seems fitting that Fenriz and Nocturno Culto are two of the only guys in Black Metal not trying to sound like DARKTHRONE, then.
As with their previous effort, charmingly titled "Fuck Off And Die!", "Dark Thrones And Black Flags" sees this dynamic duo taking their music even further away from the classic formula. This time the guys have decided to split songwriting- and vocal-duties evenly, and it's not hard to hear their quite different musical influences. Nocturno Culto worships old-school Thrash, channeling a harsh and evil sound through songs like "Death Of All Oaths" and "Blacksmith Of The North". Like all young bands seem to be paying tribute to DARKTHRONE, Nocturno Culto gives a nod and a wink to classic Thrash and Heavy Metal bands, with a vicious and raw edge that keeps those heads banging.
A less formularic approach comes in the form of Fenriz' adoration of Crust Punk, even though followers of the band have already seen it shine through on the last few albums. These songs have one particular thing in common; it sounds like the guys were drunk as hell and having a blast while recording them. Just listen to the chorus on opener "The Winds They Called The Dungeon Shaaaaaker", and try not to smile or sing along. Basically these tracks are performed with a lot of humor and energy, and serves as a giant middle finger to all the elitist «true» people out there. Lastly, if you're going to hear just one song from this album, it should be the testosterone-explosion of "Hanging Out In Haiger", which is both the funniest and the best thing DARKTHRONE have recorded in years.
To sum things up, the dynamic contrast of the vicious black thrash attack and the all-out ridiculous drunken punk keeps "Dark Thrones And Black Flags" fresh, and should have something to please everyone able to laugh at themselves. It's nowhere near musical high art, but at this point in DARKTHRONE's carreer it's obvious that they don't give a fuck about what anybody thinks of them. The album reeks of spontaneity, and even though they probably had more fun recording it than I had listening to it, this is the perfect soundtrack when you're kicking back with a couple of buddies and a shitload of beer.
(Online December 18, 2008)