Darkthrone
Eternal Hails


4.2
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland STAFF
June 28th, 2021 | 99 replies


Release Date: 06/25/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Darkthrone’s hunger is eternal…

Over the last few years it could be said that Darkthrone have been steadily moving themselves towards a laid back version of themselves. Long gone is Darkthrone of the early 90s, and the pioneering soundscapes of A Blaze In The Northern Sky, Under A Funeral Moon or the iconic, Transilvanian Hunger, and yet Darkthrone remained prevalent on the forefront challenging metal’s perception, never staying idle on any particular style or niche for an extended period. At the core of Darkthrone’s sound however, was the ability to grow, mature and progress into a different version of itself, but importantly, they (and their respective releases) remained familiar, shifting enough to be noticeable, without being at odds with the framework that allowed them such a withstanding position amongst the Norwegian metal scene.

As expansive as the Darkthrone discography is, you can’t help but admire their shift into more complacent, “laid bare” styles of music. If 2019’s Old Star was anything to go by, the natural shift into a fully-fledged proto-doom version of themselves would be a natural, self-defining step. Before that, The Underground Existence more than hinted at a classic heavy metal revival, but the typical black metal nuance kept pace. Taking comparisons another step further, Eternal Hails...... is decidedly less “polished” than the likes of Arctic Thunder or Old Star and yet, from the guitars to the sonorous bass kick, Darkthrone’s 2021 piece is unmistakably...well, Darkthrone.

“His Masters Voice” quickly turns into a romp, riffs surging into life before Nocturno Culto’s signature vocal style snarls through the din. Quickly recognizable is the band’s penchant for taking vintage sounds with them wherever they go. In fact, the record’s first single, “Hate Cloak” offers simple dual notes and drawling riffs over the thump of Fenriz’ drums. Nothing here is over-produced, sticking to the types of soundscapes that defined both band members' early listening days. Repeated listens identify Darkthrone’s ability to draw earworms out of the most unassuming chord progressions and simple melodies. “Hate Cloak” takes the simple, the consistent and wraps it around the mind, a hymn of repetition and sultry 70s rock worship. Even the guitar solo seems to bleed from the back of a stage, fog machine and cigarette smoke working overtime to obscure that these heavenly notes come from mortal hands. Even as the record creeps over its halfway point, Eternal Hails......’ shifts again. In having tracks that all exceed the seven minute mark, the more cerebral climes of “Wake Of The Awakened” are allowed the chance to breathe, becoming fully formed anthems that blend metal’s eras into a single fuzz-filled, vintage being.

Eternal Hails......’ longest composition, “Voyage to a Northpole Adrift” acts as a return of sorts. It’s here that we get glimpses of the same Darkthrone that crafted the meticulous riffs a la The Underground Resistance. Breakneck riffs dance over a stable drumbeat, jutting guitar licks over vintage tremolo riffs and Nocturno’s trademark gurgle. The speed metal vibe that races through the track’s latter half ticks all the boxes for fans looking to move away from the mid-tempo pacing's already covered in the album’s more doomier passages and yet, the aesthetic isn’t lost—clippings of Saint Vitus, Cirith Ungol and Sabbath all mixed into the DNA of a modern take. It’s also here that listeners hear the rewards of Nocturno Culto’s natural affinity for faster, more riff-centric tracks while experimenting on the formula the duo lay bare as a whole. Darkthrone’s more furious side is not forgotten.

What Eternal Hails...... lacks is a lot of obvious variance. When comparing the band’s more prolific records, listeners are probably able to identify that Under A Funeral Moon is vastly different to this year’s release (a given since the two albums are separated by almost three decades), but when we compare the bulk of this forty minute release by its individual tracks, one could forgive a casual listeners’ complaint of blending moments, especially as Eternal Hails...... traipses its way through every retro-doom nuance this side of Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut. That aside, Darkthrone’s 2021 effort isn’t as much of a footslog as the above would suggest. Naysayers might suggest that Darkthrone have been neutered over the years, swapping icy atmospheres and blistering riffs for smoke induced rhythms and slower marches through minimal old-school doom, but ultimately Hails......’ tracks provide a sonic journey free of pretentiousness or cheese.

Those that give the Fenriz’ and Nocturno Culto’s nineteenth record more than a casual spin will hear depth, nuance, servicing the very nostalgia invoked in bringing the Darkthrone “style” full circle, as if this humble Norwegian outfit ever had roots within the doom riffs they conjure today. Eternal Hails...... resonates with those who have traveled with Darkthrone over the decades...grey patches scattered across a scene of neck-beards and receding hairlines while recognizing the band’s formula for not outright repeating themselves. If anything, Darkthrone proves metal doesn’t need to rely on innovation, speed or demon-summoning amounts of distortion to craft relevant records of quality. In their place, Eternal Hails...... offers up an epic of sorts, nailing purity and vintage aesthetic.

While Eternal Hails...... may brood under the weight of its own nostalgia, the album’s core is drenched in whimsical motions, absorbed over the journey of multiple listens. Darkthrone is still as galvanizing as ever, filled to the brim with old-school flair and is abundant in its authenticity. When the eternal hails call on the loyalists beckons, Darkthrone’s hypnotic flair shifts, resonating with the masses once again.




Recent reviews by this author
Trivium In the Court of the DragonCognizance Upheaval
Rivers of Nihil The WorkSpiritbox Eternal Blue
Eunuchs The Castration of GodsAntediluvian The Divine Punishment
user ratings (160)
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Adam Grumpy CONTRIBUTOR (4)
The same old thrones, and the embracing of doom....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2021


15242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Released 25 June, Peaceville Records



Bandcamp link: https://peaceville.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-hails

Trifolium
June 28th 2021


26762 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow a new album with two reviews! You know you are a high-end release when...



You make it sound like there are 20 albums, with The Underground Existence being The Underground Resistance's younger brother.



Album is lovely, can't wait to dive back in.

Digging: Joana Serrat - Hardcore from the Heart

garas
Contributing Reviewer
June 28th 2021


6571 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Damn Rob! Excellent review as usual.



" If anything, Darkthrone proves metal doesn’t need to rely on innovation, speed or demon-summoning amounts of distortion to craft relevant records of quality."

This [2]

Digging: Eos (CAN) - Les corps s'entrechoquent

R4zor3dge
June 28th 2021


1308 Comments


Solid review man. Will check at some point.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2021


15242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Now let’s treat that average right. Bunch of poseurs.

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
June 28th 2021


11709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Awesome reviews from both of you.



I think what impresses me so much about Darkthrone is that they were never really an "innovative" band in the traditional sense. They didn't really pioneer any genres or anything like that, and yet they're just as influential as the most groundbreaking metal bands. And it's simply because they've strengthened and elevated each genre they tackled to greatness. And that's awesome

budgie
June 28th 2021


26824 Comments


ur the only poser here nocte

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2021


26038 Comments


5 seconds into this I already know I gonna love it

Digging: Blackwater Holylight - Silence/Motion

Muzz79
June 28th 2021


1287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They pushed the boundaries with production and good luck to them. There's no more metal dudes on earth than Fenriz and Nocturno which I totally and utterly respect

Digging: Worm - Foreverglade

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2021


26038 Comments


Shit this is dense af lol

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2021


15242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

--ur the only poser here nocte--



You're the only one I'd love to pose for here budgie.

Trifolium
June 28th 2021


26762 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah it is dense isn't it!! Was the first thing that I felt after "wow these drums rule" and "wow that guitar tone rules".

Evok
Contributing Reviewer
June 28th 2021


8519 Comments


Hella stoked to hear this. Imho, Darkthrone is only getting better with age.

Digging: Ayesha - Potential Energy

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2021


15242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Fine wine feels agreed.

WatchItExplode
June 28th 2021


9344 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is this the sound they've been going for with the last couple albums? Cuz I had only ever checked out the early classics and I'm really enjoying what I find here.

Digging: Floating Cloud Music - Love is a Burning Building That Will Suffocate Us

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
June 28th 2021


20926 Comments


kind of, they've been messing around with trad/doom riffs for a while but nothing has felt quite as focused or fully realized as this one.

Digging: Slugdge - Esoteric Malacology

sonictheplumber
June 28th 2021


13730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

my theory is fenriz found out about stoner doom and was so offended he had to save metal

Digging: Soundtrack (Film) - Dirty Dancing

bloc
June 28th 2021


66629 Comments


I've never even listened to this band, and that is one of the best album arts I've ever seen. Ever since I saw it in the news article I fell in love.

Digging: Lloyd Banks - The Course of the Inevitable

BigPleb
June 28th 2021


63847 Comments


Fenriz is the man.

Also ye, that album art is immense.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2021


15242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I’ll have to see if they do some vinyl work that’s just as swanky.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy