Darkthrone – It Beckons Us All

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The musical chronology of Darkthrone can be divided into three main eras: although the band initially started as a death metal band the first era was when they were hailed as one of Norway’s true black metal bands. Then came the crust-punk and the change of style. In that particular timeline Fenriz (drums, vocals, guitars and bass) and Nocturno Culto (vocals, guitar and bass) defined a new cultivated signature style of heavy/black/doom metal. These timelines represented a varied musical direction that highlighted some of the best works in their career. However, albums like 'Circle the Wagons', 'The Underground Resistance' and 'Old Star' were deemed to be old school metal.

Though it took almost one decade for Darkthrone to evolve from its second phase, the duo is still cloaked in their old school cult heavy/doom metal. You can still hear the traits laden with black metal riffs, but let me tell you one thing: the level of quality hasn’t dropped an inch. In my opinion, I tend to like the new studio album more than the previous one.

From the quirky bizarre opening of the first track ‘Howling Primitive Colonies’ the catchy melodic riffs give it the raw intensity of ’80 metal. The impressive guitar skill and the riffing packed with the mid-pounding drums. The repeated formula of the driven riffs and melodies shows a triumph of what is called true traditional metal and.  Then the rhythm guitar kicks in like a massive thunder on the following song ‘Eon 3′.

The vocals aren’t the best but the harsh vocals are layered with some compelling guitar hooks as the duo starts channeling into the doom metal. The menacing riffs are the strength of this song and this underscores the work of the lead guitar and the dynamic fury that fuses elements of Celtic Frost.

Black Dawn Affiliation’ is another steady riff-oriented track as it immediately showcases the bleak black metal song structures. The drums are upbeat and catchy, kicking up the tempo and there are elements from thrash metal that extend beyond the likes of Metallica. A heavier guitar line follows each riff and carries on the pacing of the mid-paced heavy thundering guitar tone. There is also an organic drumming with the galloping riffs pushed up-front, showing the coherent song structure and the slow tempos evoking a cold dark atmosphere that is so grim when the spoken words echo in the background.


The progression of ideas seems a bit lacking in ‘And In That Moment I Knew the Answer’ where the flow of the guitars continues for three minutes, dragging some obvious black/heavy metal riffs and the bass guitar perfectly fits into the formula. The ominous riffs make a powerful avalanche of the flowing atmosphere of the floating synthesizer in the background and the drums knocking off the entire song.

The sonic trademarks of Darkthrone focus on instrumental prowess and while ‘The Bird People Of Nordland’ starts with an aggressive riff, we hear some traditional Norwegian black metal riffs being layered with the drums. The bass guitar is audible, but it is a bit buried in the mix, the album’s production is warm. And while the first half of the album was more riff-oriented, Darkthrone utilizes some slow and galloping riffs which are catchy enough.

The album’s cover is very appealing because the dark blue encrusted textures of melted spheres give it a dark and monumental feel. Fans who crave some speedy, fast tempos and tremolo-picked riffs will find some pure majestic moments plodding through the pounding drums. Not to mention the entire song has that Darkthrone proto-black metal feel I mentioned earlier, particularly by the members sharing dual vocals, which evoke the sense that they are singing from a cold, deep, forlorn cave.

The album ends with an epic ten minutes track ‘The Lone Pines of the Lost Planet’ which is a powerful track that contains some triumphant, punchy heavy riffs. The instrumental opening of the track has that ‘80s thrash metal vibe and while these elements give you that classic sound, the duo provide a perfect musical prowess with the quality of the riffs. This song conveys an insightful experience to the band’s musical evolution of its third phase as they draw the best elements from their past albums.

Fenriz and Nocturno Culto don’t intend to capture their bygone glories of 90s black metal, instead they play music to make it sound all traditional and heavy and the latest album solidifies a new epoch of epic metal.


  • Music / Songwriting 8/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 7/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 9/10

It Beckons Us All’ is more of a continuation of the preceding albums like ‘Eternal Hails……’ and ‘Astral Fortress’ where the duo continues to cement their proto-black/doom metal sound.

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