Legendary Norwegian metallers, Darkthrone, will release their new album Old Star and this is the first taste, The Hardship of the Scots.
It follows their 2016 release Arctic Thunder. One of the most influential bands to come out of Scandinavia, and that’s saying something, Darkthrone have experimented with their sound since the 80s. They are pretty much the go to band for the extreme. From their early years of thrash and death to doom, Darkthrone do things their way. Often offering everything from black metal to grind to thrash and anything in between.
Darkthrone are Gylve Nagell (Fenriz) on drums, song writing and lyrics. His other half is Ted Skjellum (Nocturno Culto) who is on strings, vocals and song writing.
Ever creative and a little obscure Fenriz states – “Old Star — again we are here with the riffs! A while after our previous, Arctic Thunder, album it became apparent that we would continue in that same style, black old heavy metal with slow thrash, classic doom and slow death metal. As many have focused on the ’70s sound over the last 20 years, the mix on our new album has ended up being more ’80s than ever. The songs are more metal than ever! Ted’s songs have a lot of black metal in them, faster and slower but also doomier parts and reoccurring parts. My songs are more linear written. It’s an ancient ’80s underground trick, with breaks, all slow heavy or slow thrash, classic doom or slow death.”
He continues, “All in all, it is our most ’80s album so far and our most metal one to date with drum sound typical for the ’80s USA/German market and damned lyrics, which are all written by me. We feel that ‘Old Star’ is the big brother of ‘Arctic Thunder’. More solid and with even better riffs.”
The Hardship of the Scots is 7 and a half minutes long. It is a bit of a cheese board of metal. Good quality cheese though. We start with a thumping riff that leads into extended notes and some heavy, growled vocal lines. The drums are slow and steady matching the doom like start to the song. It’s a full sound but really raw, really underground. Lead guitars come in and blaze a little higher toned melody. The guitars really sit forward, leading the song. Both the drums and vocals sound like they may have been played in a different room, or cave.
At around half way through it switches away from the slow, depressive doom to a fuller, thrash like riff. The drums kick up the speed and there is a wicked chug to the riff. Vocals lift in tone a bit too and are clear enough to be heard. A bit more high toned melody slips in for a cracking instrumental section with plenty of head banging rhythm and riffage. It pretty much stays this way through to the end. A brief vocal verse followed by pit inducing guitars and drum combos on repeat.
Darkthrone know what the fans like. Give us some good riffs and drum rhythms and we are on board. Something to headbang to, something to mosh to. That’s what you get with The Hardship of the Scots. Unapologetic heaviness built around some excellent riffs and beats. Yeah it sounds like it was recorded in a shed somewhere but to be fair, that is what they go for. In that way, they have achieved their wanted sound even if it isn’t the cleanest listen. Hard on the ears but also hard on the neck. This is good metal!
You can grab a copy of The Hardship of the Scots now on all the usual streaming platforms. Grab your preorder for Old Star from Peaceville here. Find out more about Darkthrone and their incoming album at their Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channel.
The Hardship of the Scots by Darkthrone (Peaceville Records Ltd)
The Final Score - 7.5/10