JULY 9th 2019

Review by Ruben Mosqueda

Norway’s Darkthrone have been a mainstay in the black metal subgenre for over 30 years now. They don’t stray too far from the formula that has worked for them, and that is beloved by their core fanbase. In that way, you say that, Darkthrone are almost ‘punk rock.’ What’s more punk rock than an album in 2007 titled ‘F.O.A.D.’ [or ‘Fuck Off And Die], I’ll wait....there’s been black metal acts that have experiemented and it has resulted in their evoluation, into the ‘commercial’ arena, like Dimmu Borgir and Stayricon for example. Great bands, but they have moved on from their early beginnings. The masterminds behind Darkthrone [if you’re reading this, you who they are] Fenriz [drums] and Nocturno Culto [guitar, vocals, bass], during their storied career they’ve released 16 albums leading up to their latest effort ‘Old Star.’

‘Old Star’ is [as you might have guessed] and old school, bludgeoning, riff based, black metal record, it’s no question has roots in classic Judas Priest, Venom, Celtic Frost, there’s even a touch of 80s metal guitar gunslinger moments, without distracting from the pummeling you’re receiving from the tunes. While, this isn’t going to attract the guitar gearheads, chances are  even if they don’t love the rest of the stuff that is happening on ‘Old Star,’ they’ll certainly appreciate the guitar work. An excellent example of this is “The Hardship Of The Scots” which amazingly in enough finds Darkthrone channeling Jake E. Lee-esque type tones on the track! You have to hear it to believe it.  

Black Metal is an acquired taste, I have found you have to be in a mood to listen to, otherwise you might miss what the album/song is all about. ‘Old Star’ is no different, but I will say that listening to black metal at age 40+, it still gives me that sense of anticipation, anxiety about listening to something that is dark and off the beaten path. Darkthrone hit the spot with ‘Old Star’ and continue to add to their ‘dark’ legacy with another record that ‘the hooved one’ would adore.