Darkthrone are back with their 17th studio album, Old Star out May 31st 2019 via Peaceville Records.
There’s a sense of urgency to Darkthrone’s new album, Old Star. An urgency that gives the riffs more impact and sees the pot of black, death and doom metal bubble over. This, the follow-up to 2016’s excellent Arctic Thunder, continues the trend of quality consistency from the metal legends. Six tracks of cold, unforgiving and organic noise, Old Star can proudly sit alongside the best of what Darkthrone have produced over the many years since their inception in 1986.
Led by long standing duo of Fenriz and Nocturno, Darkthrone are legends within the black metal world and this album just confirms that. Unlike many who have tried to ape what they do, they’re still untouchable.
Staying true to themselves, I Muffle Your Inner Choir is a beastly opener, every bit as Darkthrone as you’d hope but the tempo drop just over half way through is even more special. The doomy riffing and slower drum beat is exceptional stuff and draws you in even closer to Darkthrone’s evil bosom. It’s impressively infectious, Darkthrone proving to still be a riff machine.
There’s an air of old-school epic heavy metal within the intro to The Hardship of the Scots, although it doesn’t take long for Darkthrone to drag us down to the pits. Unbelievably rhythmic, this is one of the best Darkthrone tracks in some time. A standout effort that impresses not just with the riffs but how well they’re structured around the darkness of Darkthrone’s core. The mid-tempo switch to ringing guitars and a more passionate vocal performance is mind-blowing.
The title track is all about the chorus, an exciting and somewhat majestic sounding moment wrapped around short doomy sounding riffs. Alp Man is very reminiscent of early 80s doom but contained by the howling vocals and the threatening riffs. It’s a track that might see many inadvertently nodding their head along through the pure infectious nature of it.
It’s a return to the blackened death metal sound with Duke of Gloat, Darkthrone at their most vile and savage but not without some flair as they throw out some old-school guitar leads just past the halfway point. Another excellent track and as we reach the finale Darkthrone don’t let us down with The Key is Inside the Wall.
Another excellent track on an album made up of excellent tracks, this finale brings with it tension that erupts in spectacular and memorable style. The blackened heaviness increasing in tempo just to take us back down to a doomier set of riffs then back up. It’s wonderful and the crowning achievement on an album that is covered in them.
There was never really any doubt that Old Star wouldn’t be anything less then another great Darkthrone release. That it’s one of the best albums they’ve released in a while is grin-inducing stuff. Darkthrone do what they want, their way and continue to impress in ways we can be extremely glad for.
Darkthrone – Old Star Full Track Listing:
1. I Muffle Your Inner Choir
2. The Hardship of the Scots
3. Old Star
4. Alp Man
5. Duke of Gloat
6. The Key is Inside the Wall
Darkthrone - Old Star (Peaceville Records)
The Final Score - 9.5/10