DARKTHRONE Arctic Thunder

597158A lot has been said about the legendary Darkthrone, and still they are enigma of sorts. Their career stemming from Soulside Journey all over to The Underground Resistance can be seen as a mirror of its two creators; Nocturno Culto and Ferny have always played what they felt like regardless of any trends, much rather setting them instead of following which is the case of their entire road. I purposely do not want to choose the word “career” since Darkthrone is something honest to the core, made from two guys in order to celebrate the music that they love through creating something highly original. Arctic Thunder is their 16th studio album (feat in itself) and if you thought that you have figured out Darkthrone think again as they have thrown another curveball in the way of their listeners. If you expected something in the vein of couple previous albums prepare to be surprised, and I think that cover of the album itself can prepare you for this. Albums like for example F.O.A.D. had that Dennis Dread cover which explained to you perfectly what you are about to hear – amalgamation of various old metal and punk styles done in true spirited way; Arctic Thunder on the other hand has that grim landscape which immediately made me think that Darkthrone have returned to their old black metal ways which is true… in a way. Forget experimentation with speed metal, vocal acrobatics and similar variations which were present on The Underground Resistance – Arctic Thunder is Darkthrone stripped to the bone. The style of the album is mixture of black and heavy metal with dashes of doom, and all of those in total 80s way. It should be said that Nocturno Culto sang on the entire album to give the album proper atmosphere, in their own words, and that effect is definitely gained in my opinion. Arctic Thunder sounds really ancient and isolated, like all those old albums used to do. It seems that Darkthrone have finished their phase of experimenting and paying tribute to styles that have inspired them and Arctic Thunder is the beginning of the new phase in their existence. This is the time when they are again sounding singular but one can hear bits and pieces of their previous phase, this time more subtly implemented in overall sound. I somehow feel that this is the sound of Darkthrone aging, but not in some bad way. One can simply feel that these two men are old and experienced, and such is the music they are making. Now, I must admit that in some moments the album sound bit contrived, like Darkthrone are still not used to their new sound but I guess that it is the result of change and they will find their space on the albums to come. While Arctic Thunder is certainly not among the top of Darkthrone discography, it is certainly interesting enough as another stop in one of the most impressive roads in metal overall, the road that is to be followed in awe and respect.

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