Review Summary: Not only a bad Darkthrone album, but an insult to Black Metal music.
Darkthrone. Undoubtedly a band highly cherished in the Black Metal industry, but recently becoming a bit more of a joke. Unfortunately, this ghastly album is no exception.
Picture the scene: having listened to (and loved) the likes of ‘Transylvanian Hunger’ and ‘Total Death’, I stumble upon this record in an isolated shop, and without a second thought hand over my cash to the gremlin-like shopkeeper. Once home, I eagerly put this CD into the player, easing the volume on the speakers up a few notches for good measure. Trembling with anticipation, I press the ‘play’ button.
Suddenly, my ears are treated to a horrific sound, one so ungodly that I thought my neighbour’s cat was being raped by a giant cactus. Certainly, Darkthrone are renowned for their dubious production, which personally isn’t much of a problem for me, but this record really does take the p*** a little. The introduction to “Rex” is basically appalling; a simple uninspiring chromatic riff played on the guitar, with a needless amount of treble. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough words in the English language to articulate how s**t this song sounds. Nevertheless, as a huge fan of their earlier work, I took a deep breath, and continued to listen, hoping that this album would get a little better.
One of the things I liked about earlier Darkthrone material was the fact that the production added something unique to the albums; a real atmospheric feeling which reminded me of forests, cellars, and all the rest of it. This record, however, reminds me that bad production doesn’t make a good Black Metal album. You see, the songs are frankly dull and uninspiring.
Furthermore, Darkthrone have managed to create a uniquely produced record- that being one with callous treble on the melody, and startling amounts of bass on the rhythm parts. It is like nothing I have ever heard before.
But my quarrel with this record surpasses even the horrible production, and the pathetic song writing. The vocals on a Darkthrone record always impressed me; they were mournful, evil, and strangely moving. On ‘Goatlord’, however, the singer sounds like he’s vomiting into a well, whilst eating gravel. The vocals are simply ghastly; not unpleasant, not ‘could be better’, but ghastly.
Take the 2nd track, ‘Pure Demonic Blessing’, for instance. Following the vocalists God-awful ‘growling’, he begins to wail noises that sound like a mixture of very bad clean vocals, and somebody having an orgasm while listening to a Margaret Thatcher speech.
To review this abhorrent album song by song is simply soul destroying, but for the basis of you loyal Sputnik fans, I’ll try my best to give you an overall perspective of the rest of the album.
The third track entitled ‘The Grimness of Which Shepherd’ is unreservedly dreadful. I dare you to listen to the first 10 seconds without putting a gun to your own head. It’s utterly awful, and kicks in with some misplaced female vocals (yes, female vocals. . . at least that’s what it sounds like).
I’d love to go on reviewing each track, but without giving too much away, I’m pretty much going to say similar things. There’s simply nothing good whatsoever about this album- it doesn’t even make a good Frisbee. If I was to summarise this album in one word, it certainly wouldn’t be “pleasant”. Infact, it’s even beyond disappointing.
It’s a shame I can’t rate this outrageous pile of c**p less than 1, but since I’m feeling quite generous, I’ll give it 1.5.
The 1.5 being the ‘Darkthrone’ label on the cover, nothing more.
Highlights of this album:
The moment before pressing ‘play’.