Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Initial Impressions: Darkthrone: Circle the Wagons

Darkthrone has had an interesting career. Starting out as a death metal band, then putting out three absolutely classic black metal albums, including the genre defining Transilvanian Hunger, then slowly morphing into more of a blackened-crust band. Now the band has come out with a new sound that owes much more to traditional heavy metal. There's even clean vocals here.

This is an interesting direction for a band that has always defied expectations and done things their own way. At this point, most of the black metal elements have been removed from the band's sound, with only the vocal style remaining in that vein. The songs are a bit on the longer side for the band, but the songs feel fully developed, as if they could not be shorter. They are also some of the band's most memorable songs in years.

The music is much more than a simple riff, repeated ad nauseum on this album. The songs are carefully crafted, even featuring guitar solos and more complex riffs. The vocals from the two singers match well with the music. Everything still has a bit of a dirty, raw edge to it. There are still some punk elements to the music, but for the most part, this is an album centered around more traditional-sounding metal, without being retro.

Darkthrone have once again changed their sound, but also put out one hell of an album. I was intrigued when I heard they were going for more of a classic sound, I'm glad I picked this one up.

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