Darkthrone has always been one of the strangest bands in the extreme metal scene for various reasons. One of them is that they consist of only two members since 1993. Another one is that they refuse to play live, having performed only a few times with the last one being somewhere in 1996. Something that gave them all the time available to focus on the studio albums, because “Old Star” is their eighteenth full-length release!
They started as death metal in their debut, they continued as black metal for their most classic period, until 2006 came and “The Cult Is Alive” when they changed their sound and incorporated many elements and influences from other styles. Something that continues to this day of course. For example, “I Muffle Your Inner Choir” is an ideal opener, a black/thrash attack that ends up in doom tempo towards the end. “The Hardship Of The Scots” has a traditional heavy/doom sound and it’s possibly the best track here. That NWOBHM riff is simply awesome.
In doom tempos we find the self-titled and “Alp Man”, with the latter having a death metal atmosphere. “Duke Of Gloat” is a killer track and the tremolo-picking riffs shows why they are considered one of the best black metal acts of all time. The last one, “The Key Is Inside The Wall” changes between crust punk and doom tempos, giving also something different to the final result.
I have to say that I was never a fan of the Norwegians, although I have listened to some of their albums. I’m glad that “Old Star” came to me, because I dedicated time to listen to a band that isn’t afraid of experimenting with its sound, with the result being this great release. Fenriz and Nocturno Culto have done a remarkable job and I don’t think that they’ll stop to amaze and the fans of extreme (and not only) metal.