Darkthrone    

The Underground Resistance
Peaceville Records
2013

Legends of the Norwegian underground, Darkthrone have returned with another monument to metal in the form of their new album, The Underground Resistance.  I know I have probably said this before, but with this album they truly "break the chains!"  Three tracks for Fenriz and three for Nocturno Culto, both artists have somewhat divergent signatures in their songwriting styles, yet somehow they work completely together and the album sounds unified.  The album opens with Dead Early, the first of Culto's tracks.  A haunting guitar sets the tone before slashing into a bouncing thrash riff.  For me there is a strong similarity to Launchpad To Nothingness, the dirty, necrotic riffs and the dry, corpse-like vocals.  There is a certain bone-hard resignation to the song, like Culto knows that a freezing death awaits him, yet he is determined to face it head-on.  Next is Fenriz' magnum opus, Valkyrie.  Perhaps the most epic song that Darkthrone has ever done.  From the opening acoustic guitar and flowing, majestic riff to the awkwardly wonderful vocals of Fenriz.  They are so hard to describe.  At one moment soaring and the next pushing forward at full speed.  Elements of early Helloween surface, the song is a total whirlwind of speed metal influences dragged through nostalgic grime. Lesser Men saws with its sinister guitars that subliminally drag and then pick up speed and intensity.  The momentum of the track drives forward, crests and then collapses into more late era Darkthrone paradigms.  The slight scent of Voivod wafts through some of these riffs while Celtic Frost casts a glance as well.  You'll also notice that Culto has sewn a ton of discordant soloing into this track.  The Ones You Left Behind uses a forceful main riff that is punctuated by Fenriz's terse vocals that warp into the sour warble he is known for from Circle The Wagons.  A falsetto scream ushers in total speed metal melodies and some of the rougher edges as well then drops back into the structures that formed the foundation of the song's initial segment.  Back to Culto with Come Warfare The Entire Doom.  Long, lumbering Candlemass-esque riffs crush your eardrums and are accompanied by a sorrowful solo.  The tempo increases and the guitars waver like slow motion Destruction.  At the 2:17 mark a feverish black metal riff raises up and then breaks into sped up doom riffs.  At 4:35 one of the best riffs on the entire album bursts forth!  It is a thrash riff that just possesses me and fills me with maniacal energy.  The final track is the incorrigible powerhouse, Leave No Cross Unturned!  The vocal theatrics of Fenriz continue as he commandingly sends his voice over the edge delivering the track's title.  The riffs drive so hard and so forcefully that you are almost literally bulldozed into the ground.  The song's opening passage is relentless.  We are finally allowed to breath as a dragging Hellhammer-ish riff takes over and continues to smash you into the ground.  After several more bruising midtempo riffs that throb with malice we are transported back to a furious thrashing rage!  Just to spice things up, the song closes out with a rockin' doom riff in the vein of Pentagram and Trouble.  The Underground Resistance is an album that teeters between deranged and brilliant.  This is Darkthrone at their finest, both energetic and fresh by weaving regressive tributes into modern odes to glorious metal.  UGH!!!!!!!!!!