Album Review: Darkthrone - Old Star

Artist: Darkthrone

Album: Old Star

Genre: Black Metal Review by Steve Jenkins

One of the most iconic black metal bands of all time, Darkthrone, have had one of the most diverse and interesting careers of any band that has spawned from the genre. Since their inception in Norway, starting off as a death metal band, before creating some of the most famous and respected black metal albums of all time in the early-mid 90's, then going onto crust punk, and even heading down the thrash/speed metal route more recently. It's no secret that drummer Fenriz is a metal encyclopedia, and draws many influences from different styles of music and personal favourite bands.

Now in 2019, they have released the new album titled Old Star, and Darkthone are taking us on an 80's renaissance of infectious riffs that will leave your neck sore by the end. The black metal ingredients are still all there, from the trademark vocals of Nocturno Culto, the cascading drumming from Fenriz that is almost always incredible, and the eerie guitar that delivers some of the coolest sounding riffs I've heard in a long time. It's bread and butter Darkthrone and because of that, it sounds bloody fantastic.

Not many people can hit the drums like Fenriz does and make them standout as much as he does, he can go from a slowed down pace to truly pummeling speed and make it seem so easy. The guitar work is very engaging and truly a highlight on Old Star, there are a couple of nice solos sprinkled in there and it really feels like you're listening to an album made in the 80's thanks to the production. I think that's what they were going for, but I could be wrong. Standout track still goes to the first track they released from the album, "The Hardship of the Scots", which delivers classic Darkthrone sound with punky riffs and even a bit of doom thrown in there. It's the best song of theirs that I can remember, going as far back as the unholy trinity days of the band.

There's no doubt that Darkthone are the kings of black metal, despite changing up their sound over the years. No other band does bleak atmosphere accompanied with fist pumping riffs like this Norweigian duo. You can tell they love music and they have fun making music, and that's really cool to see after a career spanning over 30 years. Old Star will go down as another extremely solid offering from Darkthrone and will keep casual fans and long time listeners satisfied for weeks and months to come.

8 out of 10.

Old Star is out now via Peaceville Records and also available on iTunes & Spotify.

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