Oh Black Metal! Once again one of your most loyal followers, DARKTHRONE release a new album. This is pure Black Metal my friends. However, there are a few nice punk touches to be found on “The Cult Is Alive” in some of the songs. The CD starts off with an odd up-beat(ish) type of sound with “The Cult Of Goliath”. The first words to be grisly shrieked in the song and album is “SIX SIX SIX”, which should hint as to what’s to come with the rest of the CD. The song is actually pretty good with its funky beat and nice alternate picking. The drums have a kind of stale dry sound to them though and unfortunately they hold back the sound from really pushing its way to its full potential and for that I must deduct from the points. Actually, their sound gives me a bad reminiscence of Lars Ulrich’s drumming for METALLICA’s “St. Anger” album. Nearing the end of this song, there is a nice solo that adds a little flavor to the mix. It’s pretty simple; not too complex, but it fits well.
While listening to these songs, apart from their minor punk influences in some parts, I cannot help but think to myself “This is Raw Black Metal. I have heard this type of music over and over again, many, many times.” This genre has already been milked dry and in my opinion (because that’s what this review is all about haha!) is that all these types of bands – DARKTHRONE, NOKTURNE, BURZUM, MARDUK, etc, need to start upgrading to higher production studios and instruments because after hearing millions of bands play the same music with the same low-quality sound, my ears start to bleed. I mean, just look at MAYHEM. Their latest offering “Chimera” had a high production quality to it and it turned out amazing. Also, take a look at DIMMU BORGIR. With the release of “Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia” and “Death Cult Armageddon”, they reached newer higher standards with their music. You don’t have to sound like shit to be ‘true’ to Black Metal.
I know this review is more negative than positive considering the score I’ve given. The music does not sound like ‘shit’ though. That was just a figure of speech I made. Some songs on this album are good, especially the song “Graveyard Slut” with Fenriz on Vocals. In my opinion, the best song on the album, which can also be heard on their “Too Old, Too Cold” EP. I didn’t find much on this album that really impressed me, but it was worth the listen. And DARKTHRONE fans are going to get it anyway because they stayed true to their roots and fans always love that. I just think it’s time for the fine fellows at DARKTHRONE to give a little upgrade to their sound. If CARPATHIAN FOREST, DIMMU BORGIR, CRADLE OF FILTH (yes, yes, I am aware they are not ‘true’ Black Metal) and MAYHEM could do it successfully, then so can DARKTHRONE.
So with these closing comments, I say GET this album if you’re a fan of ‘True Norwegian Black Metal.’ It’s worth the buy especially if you’re a DARKTHRONE fan. If not; then wait for DIMMU BORGIR’s new 2006 release. It might be more enjoyable than “The Cult is Alive”. (Online March 23, 2006)