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Friday, March 5, 2010

Darkthrone-Circle The Wagons(2010)

Most fans have stopped thinking they know what to expect from the mighty Darkthrone. They are the most respected Black Metal band, and have more "quality" releases under their belts than any other band in the genre. At one time they were also the most predictable, but since their music seems to be produced in waves or phases, I am really glad that Circle The Wagons ushers in a new phase for these Norwegian Metal masters. The debut album(Soulside Journey) was a well constructed, albeit boring, slice of technical death metal. The next three records saw them switch gears and start playing the most primitive and grimy form of Black Metal. This period is what made them Black Metal stars, if such a thing can exist. Following their masterwork, Transilvanian Hunger, they switched gears(and labels), and put out three more records(one was an unreleased record from the Death Metal period), of slower more groove laden Black Metal. After a little sabbatical(well deserved)the duo returned and released three records of more thrashier, obtuse, and a little technical Black Metal, this is the period that lots of "fans" turned their back on the boys. Perhaps tired of all the scene politics, and bullshit Metal "codes", Fenriz and Noctuno Culto entered their "punk" phase! This was punk in the literal sense, but crusty Black Metal, with punk song structures. This phase of the band left many a metalhead scratching their heads in wonder, and I ate it all up with a fork.
This brings us to the brand new release, Circle The Wagons. Once again, this record sees the boys shifting gears and entering a new phase. I am personally elated at this change, as much as I liked the "punk" phase, it had started to wear thin after 3 records. Immediately fans will notice the difference in the sound of this record, they are definitely not subtle. The new sound is definitely more HEAVY METAL, with very few traces of Black Metal in their sound. The songs are all constructed like classic, sing a long, Metal Classics. I'm not talking about "normal" Metal like Judas Priest or Black Sabbath. Fenriz has a mighty record collection, and it sounds if they have been taking some cues from obscure, but fucking incredible bands like: Manilla Road, Griffin, and even Metal Church! Hell they even have clean vocals on this record, and you know what? They sound amazing! I will always hold dear to my heart the "classic" Black Metal records, but everyone gets older, and if this is the direction that Darkthrone are headed, I will follow them to the ends of the earth. There is not one filler song on this record, that isn't something Darkthrone could claim since releasing Panzerfaust. Some things will sound familiar, so don't think this is a 180 degree turn, it's all within the realm that they created a long time ago. Hell, in the track "I Am The Graves Of The 80's", there is a riff that sounds like a variation on the classic "Transilvanian Hunger" riff. I can already tell that this will be a CD that I spend a lot of time with, and just in time for summer. Hail to the true Metal!

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