That buzzing guitar sound, the way the songs groove in a rock and roll kind of way, the shroud of malevolence darkening the proceedings, and a fuck-off punk rock attitude. This is DARKTRHONE all right. On the duo's 12th album, "The Cult is Alive", Fenriz and N.Culto sound as convincing as ever, the release further cementing the pair as black metal legends and underground agitators.
Certain to become a year-end favorite of mine, this is as much fun as I've had listening to a DARKTHRONE album in quite some time. My fondness for a pungent punk attitude makes "The Cult is Alive" that much more appealing. I mean the album reeks of it. The contempt held for the slew of black metal pretenders and bandwagon jumpers is comically addressed in the band's first ever single, "Too Old, Too Cold", N.Culto uttering the line, "You call your metal black / it's just fucking lame and weak" with a mix of disgust and justifiable arrogance. The malignant fun doesn't end there either, as there are several vintage cuts on this baby. "The Cult of Goliath" and "Atomic Coming" have "classic" written all over 'em, the former a traditional DARKTHRONE groover, the latter's up-tempo verse and mid-tempo hateful chorus punctuated with N.Culto's stern warnings of nuclear disaster on the horizon. The craggy guitar tone and loathsome vocals get ugly on "Whiskey Funeral" and downright hideous when the tempos slow to a plod on "De Underjordiske". "Graveyard Slut" takes the cake though. The duo's take on old school CELTIC FROST (with a grooving DARKTHRONE twist of course), right down to Fenriz's Tom G. Warrior vocal bits, is a friggin' blast (musically and lyrically). Fenriz then turns around and straps on a rhythm guitar for "Tyster Pa Gud", one of several songs in which N.Culto's "solos" are splendidly coarse and spiky.
With so much black metal out there, we sometimes forget how refreshing the punky underground purity of a DARKTHRONE album can be. If you don't come away from this listening session with a shit-eating grin on your face, a nefarious air about you, and a strong desire to pour gallons of beer down your throat, then you were probably never that fond of DARKTHRONE in the first place.