Darkthrone – Underground Resistance (Peaceville)
25 February 2013
From their thrash / death metal of the 80s to the technical death / doom metal experimentation of new album Underground Resistance, Darkthrone inspire a whole generation of metal bands. Ed Jupp had a headbang and gave us his thoughts.
For many years, the three main musical Norwegian references could be summed up as Edvard Greig, A-ha and the fact that Frida from Abba was Norwegian by birth. Then in the early nineties, rumours reached these shores of musicians who made Deicide’s Glen Benton look like Donny Osmond. Church burning, Satan worshipping, capable of killing one another for the crime, it was said, of wearing white sweaters…
Of course, not all the bands got up to that sort of stuff, and once you got past the initial OTT aspects, the music, more often than not, could be utterly fascinating, and (whisper it) actually quite good. Darkthrone’s music incorporates not just black metal, but also death metal and crust punk – this is not the place for an in-depth analysis of how these styles vary, but suffice to say that are very different. And Darkthrone manage to weave them together to produce something very strong.
And over the course of these six tracks, what emerges most strongly is their belief in the power of the riff. The final track, the almost fourteen minute long ‘Leave No Cross Unturned’ sees them push everything to the max, and despite my age (36, in case you were remotely bothered), I feel the urge to headbang with sheer joy. Yes, there’s a sense of ludicrousness here, but there’s also a sense of wonder – this is something that’s working on several levels.
The reality is that a band like Darkthrone won’t win over those who don’t get metal in any form. The history – and entwined myths of the genre and subgenres will alienate some – but for those with an open mind, there is a lot on offer here to show how innovative and thrilling it can still be as a genre, and as for their fans, it should be another thrilling addition to the work they have produced over more than two decades.
All words by Ed Jupp. More work by Ed Jupp can be found on Louder Than War here.