Although the legacy of Darkthrone is infallible, some have still lived their lives without crossing paths with their music. Darkthrone has several influential releases, is an extremely successful two-man black metal band and is even the recipient of several tribute albums…not to mention the enormous fanbase these guys have; how could that lie?
With the release of The Underground Resistance the number of fans has definitely increased although I honestly thought I wasn’t going to it after hearing the track they released early (mostly due to the new vocals), but I was mistaken! Of course this is something completely new for Darkthrone, but after a few listens I realized Fenriz is quite talented with the new style of vocals and it even flows with the music, which is also flawless.
Darkthrone, once known as Black Death, has been making music since 1986 and with the release of The Underground Resistance they’ve successfully completed their 15th studio album. Within that twenty seven year span, however, the band has shifted their musical style multiple times. As Black Death, Gylve Nagell, Ivar Enger and Anders Risberget recorded several death metal demos and only released one studio album in 1991, (Soulside Journey), before making the bold decision of becoming a black metal band. One year later, with Celtic Frost and Bathory being their main influences, the band releases their first black metal record under the name Darkthrone (A Blaze In The Northern Sky, 1992). With a new title came new names, Gylve became Fenriz, Ted became Nocturno Culto and Ivar became Zephyrous. Now wasting no time, the three recorded and released Under A Funeral Moon in the summer of 1993 (Zephyrous’ last album before leaving the band). These two releases, plus the popular 1994 album, Transilvanian Hunger, are considered the peak of Darkthrone’s career (or the “Unholy Trinity”).
Between 1995 and 2004, the now heavily influential band continued to write and record raw black metal with a few of the albums being Panzerfaust, Ravishing Grimness and Hate Them. The 2004 record, Sardonic Wrath, is known as Darkthrone’s final black metal album; and with that, The Cult Is Alive (2006) marked their genre switch. F.O.A.D., Dark Thrones And Black Flags, Circle The Wagons and the new 2013 release, The Underground Resistance, successfully carry on the new crust-punk, heavy metal sound while keeping the same ‘old-school Darkthrone’ sound. Either way, their masterful musicianship is reflected, and show that even if they moved to Texas and wrote country music, it would still be ingenious.
Dead Early is the opening track and I have to say it is PERFECT! The intro definitely builds up what is about to come, it sounds like thrash metal at first (the music, that is), but when the vocals come in you know it’s Fenriz. The whole song is high in energy and, again, is a great choice for the first track. The second song titled Valkyrie starts with a completely different feel then jumps back into the intensity of the first track. The new vocals are really shown in this song and they’re fantastic; a very catchy song for sure! Lesser Man is one of my favorites, if not my all-time favorite, off of this album! The beginning had already caught my attention and when I heard the vocals it just sounded like the Darkthrone everyone knows, (not that I don’t like the slightly different sound). The switch between the new and old-school sound is refreshing, interesting and a lot more enjoyable than you’d think. The Underground Resistance continues with The Ones You Left Behind. I can’t say it’s one of the best, in my opinion, but something I like about this song is that it includes both of Fenriz’s vocal styles and really works well; it also includes a very high-pitched power metal-ish scream (at 2:13, to be exact…it’s just funny knowing it’s Fenriz)!
With the sad feeling of reaching the end of a great album, I come to Come Warfare, The Entire Doom, one of my favorite tracks. It brings back the original Darkthrone vocals with the slight sound change; another track that satisfyingly blends both styles. It’s also a bit calmer than the beginning songs, but tempo change is what makes an album successful, right? The record ends with Leave No Cross Unturned, another high-energy, intense song that includes the SECOND high-pitched scream! The vocals are the best part about this track, in my opinion, but the riff I’ve heard earlier in the album comes back multiple times throughout the song and it’s just as flawless! I love it! Having this track as the closure was as great of a choice as choosing Dead Early for the beginning; it was 13 minutes and 50 seconds well spent.
I’m guessing those of you reading can already tell what I’m about to say…as a whole, this album is fantastic! As I said before, I’m surprised I like it as much as I do; I actually found myself in an pretty intense session of playing my air guitar at times. I guess the only bad thing I’d have to say about it is that it’s not long enough; I’m not sure what you TRVE KVLT black metallers will think about it, but for any other metal fan, it’s definitely worth a listen.
1. Dead Early
3. Lesser Men
4. The Ones You Left Behind
5. Come Warfare, the Entire Doom
6. Leave No Cross Unturned
Genre: Black Metal
Record Label: Peaceville Records
Playing Time: 41 minutes