Darkthrone: Plaguewielder

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Darkthrone: Plaguewielder
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Darkthrone: Plaguewielder
Black Metal
Moonfog Productions
September 10th, 2001
Release length: 42:50
Myspace
PureVolume
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Heralded as perhaps one of the worst black metal albums in the style’s history, Plaguewielder has raised suspicions and anger in fans. Given the excellent former albums known as “The Black Trilogy”. While some fans just cannot embrace anything new or experimental by this band since Panzerfaust, much of their arguments hold true about this release.

First off, this isn’t an absolutely horrible album. It’s not the best one would hear by this band or in this syle of music, but it’s not as bad as people make it out to be. Darkthrone seem to have gone off in a more atmospheric direction with this release, and it’s just a little bland overall. “Sin Origin” has the potential to be a good track, but due to certain clashing guitar chords that appear will cause this to be skipped over time. “Weakling Avenger”, on the other hand, is a ratherdecent song, and perhaps one of the best ones on this release next to the track “Command”, which has it’s moments between some nice faster paced music, and moments that make you feel like you should be in some sort of a march. It does, however, seem to drag on after the first four, maybe five minutes, depending on how into the song you get.

One thing to be pointed out about the music on this release is that, not only are some of the riffs extremely simple and unimpressive, but at random moments, like in “Raining Murder” and “Sin Origin”, where the music just stops and we’re greeted with a small patch of absolutyely unneccesary guitar chords, maybe some cymbol tapping in the background. These moments can go on for quite a while and really don’t do much for the atmosphere unless you count rage. At least in “Sin Origin” this moment appears at the end and fades out instead of at a part that causes the music to speed up afterwords. You also need to analyze the songs lengths, since some of them are insane and make some of the tracks, like “Wreak”, seem drawn out (even if the song does have some nice musical moments).

The production quality of this release isn’t top notch, but it does give a slightly “raw” feel of the old school production sound that many black metal bands seem to be striving for lately. And it might just be due to this production, but the vocals on this release seem rather mediocre, as if they are trying to match any atmospheric sounds the recording may have. That argumeent could also explain the echo effect that lingers on every word for the vocals.

So, really, if you just look at this style as more of an experimental stage for Darkthrone, then it really isn’t as bad. Yes, the previous albums are far better compared to this release in almost every which way, but Plaguewielder does have some moments, even though they are few and far between. The release seems to have a bit of a rushed feel to it, and if that’s the case, had the band worked on it just a little longer, it would have made for a good release. Instead, we have a rather bland, cliche sounding atmospheric black metal album intended for those with open minds only.

01. Weakling Avenger – 7:5.
02. Raining Murder – 5:14
03. Sin Origin – 6:45
04. Command – 8:02
05. I, Voidhanger – 5:38
06. Wreak – 9:16
Overall Score: 3.5/10
Darkthrone (band)
Darkthrone (logo)Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.