Monday, January 17

Darkthrone - Circle The Wagons

Circle The Wagons


... upon hearing the opening chords to Those Treasures Will Never Befall You, I was rather instantly reminded of Judas Priest's Battering Ram, in both the pacing and progression of the riff, though Gylve "Fenriz" Nagell would cite Motörhead instead, as referenced in the liner notes of the booklet; never the less, we're immediately reminded of Darkthrone's latest, most unoriginal incarnation, where the band has seemingly dedicated themselves to resurrecting the sounds of their influences rather than feeling particularly inclined to coming up with something original, as was the case with their legendary "black trilogy," as it has since been known.  With all personal regards to taste and preference aside, I can understand the (what certainly appears to be) conscious decision to go in such a direction, especially after black metal became something out of the Norwegian movement's hands; the media crafted a perception of the scene that was very inaccurate and, as such, did so much new blood enter into the scene with similar, skewed perspectives, contaminating what was once a very small and intimate movement.  It is a sentiment to appreciate, no doubt, though unfortunately the sentiment alone is not enough to save what is basically another tribute album from Norway's now legendary Darkthrone.

Circle The Wagons flows well enough as an album, being rather concise and immediate, though only a few cuts reverberate in my memory as pieces I'd want to revisit with any kind of consistency; I Am The Graves Of The 80s, despite the rather righteous and adolescent lyrics, possesses a natural energy that is difficult to ignore or deny, showcasing, if nothing else, the band's utmost sincerity of their present convictions.  I Am The Working Class brings us anti-capitalist, broke, repressed, anxious and defiant moles-on-society's-face a warm, fuzzy feeling for being recognized as such; "the daily grind is my fate," indeed.  Overall, it's a good tune that, despite my own sentimentality, may actually have something more to do with Darkthrone's modesty despite their moderate popularity amidst the more near-the-surface underground, as well as the entire underground all together, but I may very well be wrong about that.  The title-track, despite the rather appalling vocal delivery (but that's not the point, I'm sure), contains some of the album's most majestic riffing, especially as the song comes to a close; good stuff, no less.

All-in-all, I'm one of those black metal listeners that comes from the school of Burzum's evolution rather than Darkthrone's, preferring an altogether different aesthetic in nearly all respects; this kind of preference, needless to say, takes its toll upon my personal enjoyment of Circle The Wagons and, for that matter, any recent Darkthrone recording.  I rate the album as I rate it for the band's genuineness, and my respect therein, though I raise the question that I only hinted at earlier: if it has already been done, and better, why bother?  If I want to listen to Repulsion, I will listen to Repulsion; if I want '83 Slayer, I'll listen to Show No Mercy; if I want to listen to Darkthrone, I'll listen to A Blaze In The Northern Sky or Under A Funeral Moon, when they were crafting something that sounded unique to them, and them alone.  Circle The Wagons is another step in the "I've heard that somewhere before" direction, indicating that perhaps it's time for the band to take a break from populating record shelves with records that already exist; admirable, but that's it.

5 // 10

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good review. i assume you are "Oakenson", glad you are writing again.

Darkthrone is just kind of trashy.