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Sardonic Wrath

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Album Review

Dark metal group Darkthrone leaves no stone unturned when it comes to literally and figuratively attempting to scare the listener. From the seminal and bloodcurdling atmosphere saturating "Order of the Ominous," guitarist Nocturno Culto and drummer Fenriz take the album down a long, dark demonic alley. From there they bash you over the head with a hellish metal assault on "Information Wants to Be Syndicated," only slowing down for the brief guitar solo prior to the minute mark. Imagine Metallica or Slipknot on high-speed dubbing and you might come close to envisioning what Darkthrone is capable of. The primal growls accompanying the lyrics makes it appealing to metal fans, but the beefy guitar riffs are classic head-banging, devil-horned salute to metal à la Black Sabbath. They rev their metal engine more on the quasi-rockabilly-meets-Motörhead "Sjakk Matt Jesu Krist," a simple and minimal track that is a highlight. The momentum continues on the crunchy "Straightening Sharks in Heaven" as the band shift into a mid-tempo gear led by Culto's buzzsaw guitars. At the heart of this record are meaty riffs and less sinister or satanic hues. This is exemplified on "Alle Gegen Alle" that winds around a Judas Priest-meets-shoegazer brand of rock before fleshing out with a no-holds-barred rave-up. Another stellar moment is the Iron Maiden-ish "Man Tenker Sitt" which builds on top of each verse to create a memorable track. Punishing without being overpowering, Darkthrone excels from start to finish, particularly on the rapid "Hate Is the Law" that goes into a fine Angus Young-like rock riff before veering headlong into hardcore dark metal.


Formed: Oslo, Norway

Genre: Death Metal/Black Metal

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Of all the major second wave black metal bands to emerge from Norway's fertile breeding grounds during the early 1990s, only a handful -- Mayhem, Emperor, Enslaved, Ulver -- have achieved the same exalted status and world-wide recognition as the legendary Darkthrone; and arguably none has been as consistent or prolific in the decades that followed. Unlike the majority of their peers, Darkthrone largely refused to tinker with their refreshingly straightforward and savage black metal formula once it...
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Sardonic Wrath, Darkthrone
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