DARKTHRONE — Arctic Thunder (review)

DARKTHRONE — Arctic Thunder album cover Album · 2016 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Nightfly
Whilst most Darkthrone fans would probably point to their early ground breaking black metal albums like Transilvanian Hunger as the pinnacle of their long career my own preference is for 2013’s The Underground Resistance which to this point remains a bit of an anomaly in their back catalogue. There’s no denying the importance of those early albums but the injection of traditional metal into The Underground Resistance, especially after a run of more primitive sounding crust punk infused records, was a breath of fresh air and featured some of their most potent and powerful riffs ever. I was hoping for more of the same with Arctic Thunder so was initially a bit disappointed when the band appears to have made a U-turn and returned to a more mid-period streamlined sound. The production is more of that era too; in fact it’s positively slick by Darkthrone standards warming up the cold atmosphere of the album.

A few plays though and Arctic Thunder is growing on me. It’s a simpler and more direct album than The Underground Resistance but there’s still much to enjoy and is unmistakably the sound of Darkthrone so fans should be generally happy. This time round there’s no shared vocals with Nocturno Culto taking the lot. Songs like opener Tundra Leach, Arctic Thunder and Inbred Vermin make the biggest impact with the strongest riffs, the latter being particularly potent. Boreal Leach slows things right down until near the end and despite some fairly fierce tremolo picked and doom laden riffing is quite atmospheric. Throw Me Through The Marshes doomy riff belies its simplicity turning it into an album highlight. Whilst there’s nothing bad on Arctic Thunder songs like Burial Bliss and The Wyoming Distance are less memorable being Darkthrone by numbers and with only eight tracks on offer you want them all to be killers.

Arctic Thunder probably won’t end up being anyone’s favourite Darkthrone album but despite a couple of lack lustre tracks it’s still a very good one and I prefer the overall sound to that of their early classics, not being much of a fan of that harsh and thin second wave black metal sound. Definitely worth a listen then.
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Vim Fuego wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Just been listening to this. They should have called it Arctic Drone. Bo. Ring!

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