There's something about DARKTHRONE that's hard to dislike. Year after year, album after album, from the early days of death metal, to the defining sound of raw black metal, to the punk-encrusted howlings and the old school battle metal, Fenriz and Nocturno Culto never ever disappoint. Just like the RAMONES, you never really want DARKTHRONE to evolve too much. But the slow, gentle crawl of their metal purgatory is just enough to keep the music from becoming stale. And they know their metal. Fenriz' love of everything classic and filthy has prepared his band for what they have evolved into. Previous albums "The Underground Resistance" and "Circle the Wagons" had them exploring the truly metal sound of early 80's style metal with battlecries to chill your bones and break your will. Fenriz' old school vocals countered Nocturno Culto's throat-rasping growls to produce metal the way it should be, with just enough diversity...parlaying each others musical styles into perfection.
New album 'Arctic Thunder" tips the scales into Nocturno Culto's favor as Fenriz' vocals take a back seat. Only for a brief moment in 'Boreal Fiends' does Fenriz' beautiful battle cry make an appearance. But there is still plenty of the classic not-to-be-forgotten sounds of the glory days of metal. 'Tundra Leech' starts off the album with a crawling, creeping sewer-infested track to position the band right in the thick of the direction they are taking. Familiarity makes us feel at home while moving forward into a slightly advanced DARKTHRONE stepping a little sideways while never really deterring from their goal. 'Burial Bliss' thunders forward with a rawking anthem only they could create. 'Inbred Vermin' is classic Darkthrone reminding of the sounds of recent albums. 'Arctic Thunder' is pure 80's bliss. 'Deep Lake Trespass' is epic and rampaging, all along keeping the faith we have in our beloved Norwegian metal brothers in arms. Closing track 'The Wyoming Distance' throttles along at a steady pace, wrapping "Arctic Thunder" up nicely.
I don't have to tell you to give this album a listen. You already know the deal. And if you don't, well, I hope your metal journey leads you back to them again one day soon.