This post includes much less news than most news stories at NCS. Usually, if there’s not new music or at least the debut of album art or an album release date, I just wait until there is. Hell, I don’t even have a recent band photo for this thing. But, since the news concerns Darkthrone, I’m posting about it anyway.
For more than 20 years, Darkthrone have been doing things their own way, trends be damned. In fact, if you pay attention to the writings and interviews of Fenriz, you get the impression that very little in the evolution of metal since about 1993 seems to impress him. As the metal genre, writ large, has branched and changed, Darkthrone has seemed bent on diving ever more deeply into metal’s punk/thrash roots.
The band’s last album, Circle the Wagons (2010), for example, was full of references to bands such as Motorhead, English Dogs, Agent Steel, Metallica, Deathside, Puke, Slayer, Omen, and Savage Grace. You could almost say it was a nostalgia trip, except the stripped-down and often quirky songs were so much more original than any mere homage to a by-gone era. The band’s dedication to following their own path, even if the path may be taking you backwards, and their demonstrated skill as songwriters have made the release of new Darkthrone material a never-ending source of fascination.
And that brings me to the news: On March 18, Darkthrone posted this status on their Facebook page: “Right! This weekend was a blast, and we recorded two songs, that now only needs some bass and some mixing. Should be complete next week. Fenriz did a fantastic job on vocal on his song. Some photos should be posted soon.” And then yesterday, they posted this message:
“Ok, the photos did not turn out well. Damn. But I’ll post a couple of them soon anyway. We recorded the two songs “Lesser Men” and “Valkyrie”. They are now fully mixed and it’s a done deal. In July the album will be ready.“
I was hoping for new photos, but really, we know what Fenriz and Nocturno Culto look like (unless they’ve decided to cut their hair into mohawks). However, the news that two new songs are now finished and that July is projected as the release time for a new album pretty much overwhelms all minor disappointments.
So, what will the new music sound like? No doubt, many thousands of fans still hunger and hope for more Darkthrone black metal, and maybe they will get their wish. But if they do, it certainly won’t sound like a reprise of Transilvanian Hunger; I don’t see Darkthrone ever revisiting the style of black metal they helped establish two decades ago. But after the retro-explorations that started in earnest with F.O.A.D., I wouldn’t be surprised if we now hear a bit more blackening in what comes next, even if it’s a blackened, crusty, punk sound. Or maybe, with a song title like “Valkyrie”, there will be a re-injection of Bathory worship into the liturgy.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if the music is more akin to what we found in Circle the Wagons. When you accept the fact that you don’t really know what to expect, then you can’t really say that anything will come as a surprise.
Since I don’t have any new music to offer, I thought I would conclude this post by stitching together a handful of tracks from Darkthrone’s discography, starting with more recent music and then going back in time for a couple of obvious older choices. Hope you enjoy it — and feel free to leave a Comment and let us know your favorite Darkthrone album or other songs I should have included in addition to (or instead of) these.
Circle the Wagons (2010): “Stylized Corpse”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/04-darkthrone-stylized_corpse.mp3|titles=Darkthrone – Stylized Corpse]
Dark Thrones and Black Flags (2008): “The Winds They Called the Dungeon Shaker”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/01-The-Winds-They-Called-The-Dungeon-Shaker.mp3|titles=Darkthrone – The Winds They Called The Dungeon Shaker]
F.O.A.D. (2007): “Canadian Metal”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/02-Canadian-Metal.mp3|titles=Darkthrone – Canadian Metal]
Transilvanian Hunger (1994): “Transilvanian Hunger”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/01-Transilvanian-Hunger.mp3|titles=Darkthrone – Transilvanian Hunger]
A Blaze In the Northern Sky (1992): “A Blaze In the Northern Sky”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/05-A-Blaze-In-The-Northern-Sky-Explicit.mp3|titles=Darkthrone – A Blaze In The Northern Sky]
Hell yeah, I’m ready for some new Darkthrone.
I’m partial to In the Shadow of the Horns http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAajs4oMbpg.
And Black Mountain Totem http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpzesAoL7fM.
“Circle The Wagons” was the first Darkthrone album I gave a shit about, mostly because it’s a punk album, and proof that punk isn’t completely dead yet.
I have to confess that it’s the first Darkthrone album I heard all the way through. I’d heard the most famous black metal songs from the early 90s, but not the entire albums. “Circle the Wagons” was what got me hooked into going backwards through the discography. It’s an awesome record.
Is “Stylized Corpse” fairly representative of the “Circle the Wagons” album?
This is going to be a really unhelpful answer, but I would say no. It’s the same answer I’d give to whether any song is representative of the whole album. It’s too difficult to sum up. This song is probably my favorite on the album, and it will sound different from “Stylized Corpse”:
I couldn’t really get into what I’ve heard by Darkthrone. I want to like them, but I just haven’t been able to really get into them so far. I think I should pick up “Circle the Wagons” at some point in time, not far off. “F.O.A.D.” (the song) really reminded me of Motorhead.