Released: 2013, Peaceville
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Spawned from the very womb of a she-devil back in 1986, Darkthrone are very much among the elder statesmen of the black metal movement – and also among the most prolific proponents of the genre, with this being their 14th album in their storied 27-year career (well, let’s face it, an average of an album every other year is prolific in terms of most Scandinavian bands, some of whom have been known to spend 14 years between new songs, never mind albums).
Despite a shift away from what many fans would regard as the true left hand path with ‘The Cult is Alive’, ‘The Underground Resistance is very much a return to the form of classic albums such as ‘Under A Funeral Moon’ and ‘Plaguewielder’.
The six songs are divided equally, both in terms of composition and lead vocal delivery, between Fenriz and Nocturno Culto, with both stamping their own individual characters upon their respective contributions, but at the same time comfortable to contribute to their partner’s offering in a way that helps to make the album flow fluidly and sedately.
Nocturno Culto’s three contributions – ‘Dead Early’, ‘Lesser Men’ and ‘Come Warfare, The Entire Doom’ – are emotive mixtures of doom, classic metal and death (a style Darkthrone really haven’t visited since their epoch-defining ‘Soulside Journey’ 1991 debut), while Fenriz’s three tracks are classic black metal all the way down to their Hell-spawned inception, with one foot very firmly rooted in the early- to mid-1980s birth of the movement: epic closer ‘Leave No Cross Unturned’, for example, is pure Mercyful Fate, both in its structure and delivery, with Fenriz even nailing King Diamond’s falsetto vocal to a perfect T.
Buy this album, put it on your ‘phone or iPod or whatever is your weapon of choice, and the next time some nerdy spide in a bar asks you what heavy metal is all about clamp your earphones deep into his skull and turn the volume to ‘brain-crushing’ – they’ll soon get the message.
Review by Mark Ashby