Dark Thrones and Black Flags

Peaceville Records 2009

Scene stalwarts and bastions for music with integrity, Darkthrone make a welcome return with what could be argued is the slightly more serious twin of last year's FOAD.  A very similar path is being walked on DTABF and the songwriting exhibits these artists' exuberance for their creations.  On Dark Thrones and Black Flags the songwriting duties are split pretty much down the middle between this enigmatic duo.  I will break the album down by each individual song.


- Opening with what is possibly the oldest and coldest sounding of the riffs on the album is The Winds They Called the Dungeon Shaker.  Perhaps the most traditional black metal of the songs on the disk and shockingly penned by Fenriz.  His vocals are bombastic with an Isengard style surfacing during the chorus.

- Next up is Death of All Oaths which begins with a killer drum fill before charging ahead with a rocking beat and sawing guitars.  The middle of the song sounds as if it was lifted straight off of Soulside Journey with atmospheric riffs and a chilling, distorted lead. 

- Channeling Discharge through a NOWBHM blender is the forest inspired Hiking Metal Punks.  It is one of the less serious songs on the album and and for me it is sort of a sister song to Canadian Metal from FOAD.  Fenriz lets his voice fly with hellish abandon.

- Taking on a more stoic yet atmospheric tone is Blacksmith of the North.  Nocturno evokes pure grimness from his throat as opposed to a more despondent feeling from the guitars.  This is especially true during the rather short solo. 

- My favorite track of the album is Norway in September.  It has a slowly building and bombastic main riff that rumbles along at a deceptively frantic pace.  The song then breaks for a massive neck-snapping thrash riff.  Nocturno's vocals are ice cold and granite hard.

- A gloomy slog through mud introduces Grizzly Trade before haunting NWOBHM funneled though Darkthrone guitar work thrusts forward.  The track then reverts to its lumbering, somber origins to close out the song.  Nocturno's vocals are as dry as autumn leaves.

- Hanging out in Haiger chronicles Fenriz' trip to Germany to hang out with the crew from Old.  Starting off with cymbals sounding as if they are covered in sizzling acid.  Hellhammer beats are accompanied by wild and reckless vocals for a truly dizzying and exciting trip through a metalhead's wonderous adventure.

- The title track, Dark Thrones and Black Flags is an instrumental of doomy proportions with its martial funerary drumming and lethargic guitars.  In some ways its brings to mind Candlemass's Marche Funebre

- Launchpad to Nothingness prances about with an atmospheric main riff.  It then utilizes a squealing guitar flourish as a harbinger to a more traditional "Darkthrone" riff (circa UAFM) filling out the middle passages before it once again stumbles into a ponderous reflection of itself.

- Finally the album comes to a close with the ominous notes of Witch Ghetto.  It embodies more Hellhammer primitiveness and ugly brutalism as only those that truly understand Neanderthal effectiveness can.  A melodic lead assists the track into drifting off towards nostalgic longing.  


Dark Thrones and Black Flags is Fenriz and Nocturno Culto once again displaying their love for TRUE metal as seen through a black metal tinted perspective.  No longer burdened by any sort of stylistic shackles, this album, as well as the previous two, is full of equal parts vigor and scornful mockery.  It is great to see these artists so full of vitality creating music with a youthful glee.  "Break the Chains!!!"