Darkthrone - Circle The Wagons review


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Band: Darkthrone
Album: Circle The Wagons
Release date: April 2010

01. Those Treasures Will Never Befall You
02. Running For Borders
03. I Am The Graves Of The 80s
04. Stylized Corpse
05. Circle The Wagons
06. Black Mountain Totem
07. I Am The Working Class
08. Eyes Burst At Dawn
09. Bränn Inte Slottet

Preface - If you like the direction that Darkthrone has taken with their last few recordings, read on. If you don't and long for the days when they trolled forests in corpse paint and clutched their fists towards the heavens (or just never "got them" to begin with), just save your time and money... skip both the album and the review.

Now onwards with your regularly scheduled review.

Circle The Wagons is a continuation of the path the duo have taken since The Cult Is Alive was released, more specifically stylistically it's a direct follow-up to Dark Thrones and Black Flags.

They like their metal like I like my scotch. Old.

They like their metal raw, dirty, and, well, honest... as opposed to the superswell clean, crystalline, and polished until all imperfections have been removed products that are coming out nowadays. And the track "I Am The Graves Of The 80's" sees the band announcing their battle cry/mission statement clearly for all to hear:

"I am the graves of the 80's/I am the recent dead/Destroy their modern metal/And bang your fucking head!"

While tons of Darkclones have sprung up paying tribute to their early black metal releases (i.e. copying), the band itself have continued to pay tribute to those metal bands which influenced them. Circle The Wagons is a shot of crust punk, a double of 80's metal, a couple ounces of their own stylings and a jigger of formaldehyde. Shaken. And stirred. Violently.

Recorded pretty much raw at their own pride and joy, Necrohell II studio (what's a second take?), the band shifts between faster paced anthems and mid-paced tracks that thanks to the vocal delivery feel almost dirge-like by comparison. For the most part this ping-ponging keeps up with the odd tracks being the barn burners and the even tracks slowing it down... with the exception of the last two, "Eyes Burst At Dawn", which would make a good closer, and the oddly introduced instrumental "Brann Inte Slottet" which closes the album somewhat awkwardly.

There are some pretty cool guitar riffs strewn throughout the release, mixing jolting power chords with the band's traditional necro-style riffing, if only adapted to their current musical style. Fenriz pounds away on drums in typical Fenriz fashion.

Ah, yes, the vocal delivery. The two have continued to get a little more experimental in that regard. Well, at least in regards to their back catalog. They actually kinda sing some choruses on this one, even with a dual vocalist approach to the chorus of the title track... Fenriz singing with Nocturno Teddo backing and rasping along with him. No shit. And it's catchy enough where you might very well find yourself singing the choruses as well... much to Mrs. COld's chagrin, she's had to deal with me telling her to "Circle The Wagons", or informing her that "Those treasures will never befall" (her) while she has me working around El Rancho de COld.

Truth be told, they aren't hacking their way through the metal jungle, clearing a new trail with this release. They haven't been for a while now. But so what? I enjoy this release for the same reasons I enjoy Motörhead or old Ramones albums. They do what they do, they do it well, and they do it with attitude. Perhaps it's the mix of punk attitude and some bombast which makes it enjoyable.

So while older Darkthrone is for playing Halloween out in the backyard after dark, recent Darkthrone is for gathering around your friends, enough beer to float a battleship, getting plowed, nailing a pizza to the ceiling, and laying waste to everything in sight. Circle The Wagons fits nicely into that role.

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


Written on 21.04.2010 by BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.

Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 31   Visited by: 402 users
04.02.2013 - 22:42
Written by vezzy on 31.05.2010 at 19:57

I prefer classic black metal Darkthrone, but this was good too, even if a whole new direction for Darkthrone and somewhat bland and uninspired at times.

The same could be said about their later black metal releases, bland and uninspired at times. They did start to recycle their own sound over and over again after a while. I am glad they switched directions honestly.

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