5 of 5 thought this review was well written
As virtually every black metal fan knows, Darkthrone in the early 90's helped pioneer the sound and look of a genre we've all come to know and love. Beginning their career in the 80's as a technical death metal band, the group pulled a complete 360 with their sophomore album, the infamous A Blaze In The Northern Sky
and became one of the leading lights in the second wave of black metal. In 1994 the group released the seminal Transilvian Hunger
, an album that once again redefined the genre, from it's amateurish production to the hypnotic qualities that made up the bulk of the music. While since then, the band hasn't released anything quite as acclaimed as the aforementioned releases, they have been releasing a steady flow of solid black metal albums, that have increasingly been influenced by crust punk. 2004's Sardonic Wrath
was the first to display some minor crust influences, but the excellent EP Too Old, Too Cold
(and following album The Cult Is Alive
) was the first record from the band to put these influences on full display.
While many fans see deviating from the "true" form of black metal as some major form of blasphemy, in reality, the increase of crust punk influences as seen on Too Old, Too Cold
displays a fresh, rejuvenated Darkthrone creating some of their best material since their classic era in the early 90's. First and title track Too Old, Too Cold
opens with some seriously catchy punk guitar riffing and a steady mid-tempo drum beat. Even though Fenriz's drumming is considerable slower and less intense than prior albums, its good to see him branch out from simply using blast beats and instead using some of the most interesting fills and patterns since Soulside Journey
. Through a drum roll, the song successfully transitions from punk to Darkthrone's trademark droning style of black metal and wraps up in that fashion. In a surprise twist, Too Old, Too Cold
not only features some guest vocals courtesty of Enslaved main man Grutle Kjellson on "High On Cold War" but also contains a cover of the Siouxsie & the Banshees track "Love in a Void". That track is the most deeply rooted in punk, with three chord progressions scattered throughout mixed with a frantic punk styled drums. Nocturno Culto even performs some well executed clean vocals, in a deep operatic style that is surprisingly quite enjoyable. Last track, "Graveyard Sluts" returns to the black/punk metal stylings of first song "Too Old, Too Cold" with catchy power chords and even a well played guitar solo.
Many thought that Darkthrone would never progress beyond bad production, blast beats and tremolo picked guitars, but with Too Old, Too Cold
Darkthrone shows that they may not be as predictable as everyone expects. With their branching out, the band sounds new and exciting again, bringing the thrill back into their music. Sure, it may take some getting used to, but Too Old, Too Cold
was the superb beginnings of a new Darkthrone, beginnings that perhaps would lead to a new classic album in the distant future.