Darkthrone
Circle the Wagons


3.5
great

Review

by Hawks USER (70 Reviews)
January 6th, 2011 | 215 replies | 15,299 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Darkthrone finally finds their sound within the punk metal genre and releases their best album of the new sound.

9 of 9 thought this review was well written

Let's go back in time about 20 years. Around the year of 1991, the Norwegian band Darkthrone were just releasing their debut album, Soulside Journey. The sound that could be found on that album is straight-up old-school death metal. Fast forward a year to 1992 and the release of their sophomore album, A Blaze in the Northern Sky. Now with this release, Darkthrone released one of the very first second-wave black metal albums and marked an extremely drastic change in their sound from the first album. Let's fast forward about another 14 years from that point. Now we hear Darkthrone making another change in their sound for the first time in a very long time. The release of the 2006 album, The Cult is Alive, saw the band starting to drop the black metal sound and picking up more of a crust punk sound. Finally let's come to the present day and Darkthrone's 14th full-length album, Circle the Wagons. If you would've told me that in 2011 Darkthrone wouldn't sound anything like their former selves, I probably wouldn't believe it. But that's exactly what we have here.

Circle the Wagons pretty much sets the crust punk sound of Darkthrone in stone. The two previous albums, Dark Thrones, Black Flags and F.O.A.D. were both very mediocre attempts at the crust punk sound, the latter being some of the worst music I've heard to be honest. But with this album, it seems as though Darkthrone has finally found a nitch in the crust punk sound they've been going for. The riffs are fairly simplistic, but they don't sound anywhere near as sloppy or poorly executed as they did on the previous two albums. You won't find any black metal tremolo picking here. What you get is straight-up punky, even thrash and hard rock-esque riffs the whole time. Nocturno Culto isn't trying to impress anyone with his technicality nor is he trying to put anyone in a trance like state as he did in the black metal days. He's just having fun writing the music he's playing. Fenriz's drumming is also extremely simplistic. No blast beats or techincal drum fills to be found here, just simple rhythms throughout. The drumming is also executed much better than it was on the previous two albums, like I already mentioned with the riffs. They've tightened everything up.

If you've listened to the past few albums then you've definitely noticed the change in Nocturno Culto's vocals as well. Nobody should go into this expecting a Transilvanian Hunger type of vocal performance, because you'll just be disappointed. What you have here is a guttural howl almost as well as some cleaner singing here and there. When I say guttural don't think death metal guttural. It's almost as if he's talking, but just in a very deep and sinister voice, if that makes any sense. Let's just say that Nocturno Culto has gotten much better at utilizing this style of vocals. To be frank, he just sounded silly on the past couple of albums, but he's definitely improved and puts on an enjoyable and most importantly, listenable perforance vocally. Some people may still be annoyed by the sound of his voice here though, because it can be pretty grating on the ears at times, especially during the clean singing, which isn't incredible to say the least.

So if you're a black metal fan looking for the black metal Darkthrone, then you'll want to stay far away from this album, because there's no sign of that here whatsoever. Those guys are long gone and that needs to be accepted. What you're going to get here is two men in their late 30's who enjoy playing metal music and have lots of fun doing it. Both Nocturno Culto and Fenriz have pretty much made it clear that they don't care about transitioning to a more punk metal sound from their previous "kvlt" black metal days. They're just two drunken Norwegian bastards who want to have a good time and write some music in the process. While this album isn't complex in any way, it's by far the best of their new era and an enjoyable listen from time to time.



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user ratings (212)
Chart.
3.4
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Hawks
January 6th 2011



33363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty surprised nobody reviewed this yet.

FadeToBlack
January 6th 2011



10913 Comments


id say this is closer to speed metal than crust punk, but good review

Hawks
January 6th 2011



33363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eh well I think punk metal is a good term for it haha. Thanks man.

Dreamflight
January 6th 2011



1760 Comments


Yeah Hawks you pretty much summed up the whole album. Darkthrone are one of those bands that no
matter the style they play, the feeling and attitude is always the same.

FadeToBlack
January 6th 2011



10913 Comments


oh and theres a mistake here:

The two previous albums, Dark Thrones, Black Flags and F.O.A.D. were both very mediocre attempts at the crust punk sound,
i think you meant to say both albums rule :P

Hawks
January 6th 2011



33363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really don't like them man. I think they got so much better on this one. Hopefully they can keep it up.

Dreamflight
January 6th 2011



1760 Comments


"I wonder sometimes whether a lot of the criticism for their later sound was purely fueled by their change in sound, not because of their song writing capabilities."

Yeah, like I said, the attitude is the same. Black Metal got lots of influences from punk, so it's no surprise bands like Darkthrone or Carpathia Forest have their share of punk too.


Ire
January 6th 2011



41474 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Foad rules

Dryden
January 6th 2011



12820 Comments


foad and Dark Thrones and Black Flags fucking rule and so does this

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 6th 2011



16028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good album, but I like FOAD better.

Digging: Katatonia - Kocytean

Counterfeit
January 6th 2011



17819 Comments


what the fuck did i say last time you reviewed something non-hip-hop faggot.

Bleekill
January 6th 2011



832 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Cult Is Alive is pretty awesome too.

WHISKEY FUNERAL

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
January 6th 2011



16126 Comments


Yeah, I personally like F.O.A.D. and Cult better than this and DT&BF, but this has some solid riffing on it for sure. Glad someone reviewed it. Nice work man.

Hawks
January 6th 2011



33363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I liked The Cult is Alive a hell of a lot more than I liked F.O.A.D. and DTBF. I think they peaked with the sound on this album though for sure.

psite45
January 6th 2011



275 Comments


Good review. I've never liked Darkthrone tho.

Hawks
January 6th 2011



33363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man. Well if you like crust punk, or even speed or thrash like Fade said, you might as well give this a shot.

qwe3
January 6th 2011



21154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

one of the best bm bands ever

psite45
January 6th 2011



275 Comments


I'll give it a chance. Still listening to Katatonia now though.

Hawks
January 6th 2011



33363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They've released their fair share of shit, but there's no denying that their first 4 black metal albums were great.

qwe3
January 6th 2011



21154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

also their crust stuff rules.



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