Darkthrone: The Underground Resistance

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Darkthrone: The Underground Resistance
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Darkthrone: The Underground Resistance
Black Metal, NWOBHM, Punk
Peaceville Records
February 25th, 2013
Release length: 41:41
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Darkthrone is a band that is no stranger to infamy. Not only did their earlier works gain a large legendary status, but they issued an EP (Too Old Too Cold) as an attack against those who feel the band has run their course. With that, they basically reinventing themselves into an early generation Black Metal group, holding a great deal of NWOBHM and Punk influence. This sound still exists today, and no release is more obvious of this than their recent album, The Underground Resistance, composed of six songs total, each member writing their own three. But, does this work out in the band’s favor, or does this insight end up more insulting than intriguing?

The Underground Resistence starts with “Dead Early,” showing a nice mixture of the blackened NWOBHM style one can easily associate with Mercyful fate, shifting flawlessly into some Motorhead style Speed Metal and echoed deeper growls. The tone here ends up mysterious and haunting, but not lacking energy, or infectious riffs. Then you have “Lesser Men,” which is surprisingly the most traditional offering that carries the aforementioned atmosphere with pride, though increasing around the first guitar solo. There’s also a bleak tone that hits later on, adding to the overall crushing environment the bass and drums create. The song itself takes on that first wave approach with harsher vocals and riffs that tread back into the Mercyful Fate school of Metal to the point where it seems to rip off “A Dangerous Meeting” at the start. It’s a solid track none the less, never letting up with the intensity and unnerving music.

Those latter elements can also be found on “Come Warfare, the Entire Doom.” This one finds the bass somewhat lower, which greatly boosts the crushing performance. The tone is quite bleak and helpless, and the vocals have gone from having fun to completely serious. There are some passages, such as right after the guitar solo and the chorus, that have some really catchy riffs that will have you bobbing your head along moreso than others. But, it’s the streaming single “Leave No Cross Unturned” that is the gem of the album. It clocks in at nearly fourteen minutes and runs the gambit of styles Darkthrone has used so far, though largely the band’s established Black Metal sound. The pace changes quite often between fast and aggressive with slow and hopeless. Again, the deeper bass helps make it a far more crushing experience, especially during the slower chugging that is met with less intimidating vocals.

Both of those are stark contrasts to the straight epic “Valkyrie.” This Heavy Metal cut introduces more of an Italian serenade approach on grader levels that had me imagining bullfights. This is thanks largely to the consistant enthusiasm and clean singing that sometimes is off-key. While a solid track, it’s the only one with the potential to leave listeners feeling indifferent.

The Underground Resistance is a very interesting album. The amount of variety that is used here is actually quite staggering for six tracks, and shows the dexterity Darkthrone possesses. You can tell on many songs that they are just having a blast playing the material, such as some falsettos nearly met with laughter immediately after. However the Mercyful Fate influence is to the point where it sounds like riffs from “A Dangerous Meeting” are used at the start of “Lesser Men.” Fans of Darkthrone will still enjoy this release, as well as those who have an appreciation for the first generation Black Metal sound of the eighties. But, if you dislike the past few releases, then your opinion isn’t going to change.

01. Dead Early – 4:49
02. Valkyrie – 5:14
03. Lesser Men – 4:55
04. The Ones You Left Behind – 4:16
05. Come Warfare, the Entire Doom – 8:35
06. Leave No Cross Unturned – 13:49
Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10

Darkthrone (band)
Darkthrone

Digital review copy of this release provided by Peaceville Records via Fresno Media.