For all the records we visit every year, and it’s in the hundreds, there comes a time maybe once every 18 months or so where we get to something where it’s like, what are we really going to tell you that you don’t already know? Yet, we write it anyway, because there are some bands that we just feel honored to get to discuss, and today we have one of them.
There is nothing about legendary Nordic duo Darkthrone that you don’t already know or have heard, and far more capable voices than mine have used their own words to etch them into history. Oh, there is one thing, but it’s more an annoying reminder: This band isn’t doing black metal. They haven’t in forever, and really, I think we all should have come to terms with this so we don’t put stupid expectations on their records, like their awesome 18th album “Eternal Hails,” one of my favorite titles of the year so far. Nocturno Culto (guitars and vocals) and Fenriz (drums and vocals) have spent the better part of the last several records planting their flags even harder into metal’s past, and each time out, they give you punishing, filthy, fun anthems that serve no theme other than the glory of heavy fucking metal.
“His Master’s Voice” gets things going with the guitars ramping up, the drums crumbling, and raw metal blasting at you, absolutely galloping. The vocals are gruff and blistering, as expected, with Culto howling, “Tied to the mast with his master’s voice, this will never last, hearing his master’s voice.” Things progress into thrashier terrain, with these guys sounding loose and spry, continuing to get meatier until the track fades into clean guitars. “Hate Cloak” has strong riffs and curdling growls, getting punchier as the tempo builds. The drums mash as the pressure builds, slicing into strange echoes, and then a bellowing howl of, “Eternal hails!” adds the perfect exclamation to the end of this jarring ride.
“Wake of the Awakened” brings speedy riffs and drums that aim to crumble rock, playing fast and rough, going into a guitar wash that delivers new intensity on the other side. The riffs trudge and trample as the drums cave in your head, all the elements suddenly align and hammer you, and raw howls take their final shots before the track leaks away. “Voyage to a North Pole Adrift” begins in dissonance before things slowly get fired up, with dark undertones increasing the shadows. The playing keeps upping the intensity speed wise, feeling like your heart is being jabbed before thick atmosphere rises. The spacious aura leads to the fires raging again, an incredible solo blows down doors, and voices echo as the track rampages to its end. “Lost Arcane City of Uppakra” caps off this awesome record with guitars storming, the growls slashing, and gruff elements meeting up with strange air pockets. Creaking speaking bellows as a chilling, alien synth line arrives and keeps looping, playing tricks with your mind. That fills the senses, ensuring your rocky path ends with you floating among the stars.
Look, it’s a Darkthrone record, and by now we all should have come to the realization this isn’t a black metal band anymore, hasn’t been in a long time, and we’re all better off for it. Records such as “Eternal Hails” prove that. These guys are metal lifers having created and absorbed more magic in this genre than just about anyone, and they blast back once again with a killer record that makes you feel good amongst your internal rot once it’s all over. Eternal hails for sure.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Darkthrone-101075189934422
To buy the album, go here: https://darkthrone.lnk.to/EternalHails?fbclid=IwAR2CiEYo1HvxJZpK1bvmWBBTzQMGxQiBPpypLDytuVJZRsr4m5NPwXZB-xw absolutely
For more on the label, go here: https://peaceville.com/