I just got this and I can say it's easily Darkthrone's most underrated release: in my opinion this is easily some of thier best work and it craps all over the previous album, Panzerfaust (just my opinion). I find this CD is hardly ever mentioned, even by Darkthrone fans. It deserves a lot more praise, as the songs, the production, the vocals and even the cover art, are all excellent. Not a classic, but still memorable.
Earth's Last Picture - 4/5
The album opens with some stabbing chords before a typically darkthrone sounding melodic riff starts to plod along. There's something about this riff that makes it stick in my head, it's kind of catchy but still sounds pretty grim. The song plods along at the same pace, alternating between some cool riffs, until about 3:20 when there is a break and an really epic sounding riff enters. This is one of Darkthrones best riffs. This last section would sound right at home on thier classic Transilvanian Hunger album, but is given an extra dimension by the melodic bass lines which are very audible. An excellent opening track with consistently good riffs throughout.
Blackwinged - 5/5
I love this song. It's one of the first songs I heard of this album, and I always loved the way the bass is pretty high in the mix which makes the simple black metal riffs sound more unique. At about 1:20 there is a cool heavy riff which is also repeated later in the song. Some more mid-paced melodic riffs follow, punctuated by Nocturno Culto's outstanding vocals (which are some of his best by the way, maybe even THE best).
Gather For Attack On The Pearly Gates - 3.5/5
Now this really DOES sound like something off Transilvanian Hunger: the drums basically play the same beat all the way through, with hardly any fills, and the guitars stick to the same rhythm for most of the song. However, this is still an above average track, even though the title kinda sucks.
Black Victory Of Death - 4/5
The riffs here remind me of the title track on Hate Them (yes I know Hate Them was released after this), as it has a slightly (I said "slightly") punky feel to it. Like the previous track, it's nothing special, but still above average cause of the cool guitar riffage.
Majestic Desolate Eye - 3/5
The first few slow riffs on this track are very atmospheric and epic, but unfortunately after this excellent intro it goes into blast beats with some very average and repetitive (and I don't mean the good kind of repetitive that we know Darkthrone for) riffs. Not unlistenable, but it's the worst song on the album.
Blasphemer - 4.5/5
This track is very different to anything else the band has ever done: the riffage is very thrash influenced but still sounds like black metal. And the riffage presented here is excellent. The song opens with a kick-ass riff and one of Noturno's best screams... actually did I mention that his vocals are awesome throughout the whole album!!!
Ravnajuv - 4/5
This song features some very melodic, but raw black metal riffs. Again I'm going to say that this sounds like it could have been on Transilvanian Hunger, but the band isn't just copying off a previous success, as this is an improvement. The song changes pace at about 3 minutes which keeps it from getting too repetitive. Another excellent track.
Serpents Harvest - 4.5/5
One of the things I love about Darkthrone is thier slower, sludgier brand of black metal riffs. The album closer starts with one of these slow riffs which creates a really grim atmosphere. There is a break at 2:36 and then a faster black metal riff with a very melodic lead melody, then the song returns to the original slower riff. A great way to end one of the most underatted black metal albums.