Darkthrone – Old Star
Released: 2019, Peaceville
Reviewed: July, 2019
What can I say about Darkthrone that hasn’t already been said? The band now seven albums deep into the third and longest phase of their career, have really settled in. The band is starting to slow down, averaging an album every three years now, but still manage to be one of the most prolific Metal bands of all time with the release of OLD STAR, their 18thfull-length studio album.
Nothing has changed, it is still the two friends Fenris and Nocturno doing whatever they want, whenever they want and still supported by the Peaceville label. We are graced with another black, white and grey cover. Sonically, stylistically the band maintains their current signature sound established back with the release of THE CULT IS ALIVE. Perhaps one of the only noticeable difference is that the band has been starting to write longer songs that drift into the five, six and seven minute range. In fact this 38-minute album has only six songs, four of them over six minutes long.
OLD STAR is being trumpeted as a return to Metal, which makes me scratch my head, have the other 17 Darkthrone albums, not been Metal? Sure the new record has a bit more of an 80’s vibe, but they all have over the past few years. The AC/DC inspired single, ‘Hardship Of The Scots’ is very catchy and there is another subtle layer because AC/DC fans might know that the Young family were originally from Scotland before migrating to Australia and started AC/DC. I think the album could have used a hint more speed, ‘Duke Of Gloat’ is really the only fast song but that is about it. The band keep the fire in the belly while retained some of the icy black grimness they are known for.
I like Darkthrone and lately all the albums seem more or less interchangeable and that is not an insult. In fact, I admire it; that consistency, quality and dedication. After listening to the album a few times and writing this review, I read some reviews of the album and some more serious journalistic folks have really provided a deep, micro-analysis and sweeping album by album comparisons which I feel Fenris would probably scoff at. It is a Darkthrone album, it is Metal and it is good.
I Muffle Your Inner Choir
The Hardship of the Scots
Duke of Gloat
The Key Is Inside the Wall