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Circle The Wagons
April 2010
Released: 2010, Peaceville Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Demonator

If only to fly in the face of the elitist snobs (read: regulars at your local live action role-play squat), who continue to hail them as black metal messiahs, I’ve been more vocal than most in airing my grievances against Darkthrone’s more recent offerings. Commencing with 2006’s THE CULT IS ALIVE, the once uber-influential tag team of Nocturno Culto and Fenriz have strolled along a fine line between embracing old school punk’s venerated DIY ethics and all-out drunken piss-taking. Their last outing, DARK THRONES AND BLACK FLAGS, in particular stank of the latter and you’d wager a guess that submitting it to an 18-year old Fenriz would most likely have earned you a (homemade) studded leather glove in the chops.

CIRCLE THE WAGONS is certainly no more a black metal masterpiece than any of its recent predecessors – far from it. For its duration, we’re frequently subjected to spirited bursts of clean singing, traditional guitar leads and a production that finally allows the drums to sound as though they were recorded in a studio rather than a prison cell. The difference is that for the first time in what seems to be an age, Darkthrone actually sound as though they’ve started to give a fuck.

There’s genuine craftsmanship on display across the titanic riffing of tracks like “Stylized Corpse” – a brooding mid-tempo romp that owes as much to grassroots rock ‘n roll as it does to Bathory. Opener “These Treasures Will Never Befall You” sets its phasers to “backyard kegger” and sounds as much of a rousing party-anthem as it does a bona fide display of bad-assery by a band with plenty left in the tank. Satan knows, they certainly had me thinking otherwise for a while there.
Track Listing

1. Those Treasures Will Never Befall You
2. Running For Borders
3. I Am The Graves Of The 80s
4. Stylized Corpse
5. Circle The Wagons
6. Black Mountain Totem
7. I Am The Working Class
8. Eyes Burst At Dawn
9. Brann Inte Slottet


Nocturno Culto – Vocals, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar
Fenriz – Drums, Vocals

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