Darkthrone - Arctic Thunder review


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Band: Darkthrone
Album: Arctic Thunder
Release date: October 2016

01. Tundra Leech
02. Burial Bliss
03. Boreal Fiends
04. Inbred Vermin
05. Arctic Thunder
06. Throw Me Through The Marshes
07. Deep Lake Trespass
08. The Wyoming Distance

They have played every genre: death, black, heavy, punk, you name it. At times they were the best at what they did, in other instances they kind of hit and missed. You either love them or hate them. But no matter which side one takes, one cannot but admit that the mighty duo of Darkthrone has written loads of important pages in the book of our favourite music. Arctic Thunder is their new album. And, as with every new release by them, we wonder: what did they try to do this time?

Let's start by stating the obvious, that it has nothing to do with their "unholy trilogy" of the early days; only someone very ignorant would have such an expectation. If you have heard the first single, "Tundra Leech", then you already have a general idea of what the whole album is like. Arctic Thunder is heavy as fuck, with some doom influences and a lot fewer crust passages compared to their recent releases. It has nice old-school metal riffs that sound like they emerged straight from the '80s and the dirty-raw production helps a lot to create this nostalgic atmosphere. Nocturno Culto is the only man behind the vocals, which is a good thing, since the whole album sounds more solid and coherent and of course more black-thrash.

All the songs up to the magnificent "Arctic Thunder" are more or less enjoyable and worthy of the Darkthrone name. Then the quality drops significantly with "Throw Me Through The Marshes" and the use of the last riff of "Tundra Leech" in the end of the otherwise brilliant "Deep Lake Trespass" is a bit of a letdown. The closing track, "The Wyoming Distance", is nothing special either and it's a shame really because the listener's last impression may be that the album is repetitive and uninspired. However, an assumption like this would be unfair.

Arctic Thunder is one of those cases where the cover of an album completely depicts its music. Imagine a weekend with your mates in a Nordic mountain, drinking dozens of pints of beer, sitting by the fire and telling stories about the Celtic Frost classics that you loved while you were growing up. And when the weekend's over, you go pee all this beer on the fire in order to put it out, while singing a cappella, "take these broken wings and learn to fly again…", just like Fenriz does in the final seconds of the album. I hope you got the picture.

This release is not groundbreaking, but it is a good, sincere effort, which all metal fans can include in their listening rotation, especially those who grew up with NWOBHM, Black Sabbath, and Motörhead. Because at the end of the day, you old Darkthrone fan, you are the graves of the '80s and even though your musical taste has evolved, you still enjoy some nice in-your-face, fuck-it-all-attitude, traditional metal, don't you?

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8

Written by nikarg | 28.04.2017


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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