This time, we will just skip the introduction altogether; we’re talking about a point of reference, like the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sèvres; its activity has become impalpable, but still it keeps defining the metrological standards which govern our lives. This is, in 2019, Gylve Nagell and Ted Skjellum’s Darkthrone: the ultimate criteria of what is kvlt, the role model for trveness.
Old Star is an already explanatory title: is it an innovative album? Of course not; it’s a new album just because the release date reads May 31st, 2019, a model reworked just enough to keep it in track with Earth’s axis, even, or with the increasing average temperatures so that it could maintain its unalterable shape as much as possible. Just shy of forty minutes of elementary/elemental metal, written and arranged with due strictness, mixed and mastered in order to sound good on most hi-fi systems.
Darkthrone leave no space for any hope, call off our free choice, and these intents are crystal clear by simply reading the first verse: «I muffle your inner choir / Rehearsing twisted screams / Level the jesters dream / Numbening your live wire». The sounds are full-bodied, the drumming is an obsessing metronome that drags us into a whirlwind that never ends, not even during the most classic piece “The Hardship Of The Scots”, shamelessly featuring riffs that seem to come out from Bruce Dickinson’s Accident Of Birth. The title track is the tired hymn of a dying universe, which wants to take back our planet because, at the end of the day, we deserve it: «Paying for forests you separated / Atoning for hiding the rivers / Mankind dies / In a shroud of introvert mumbling». The measured collapse goes on with the next one, “Alp Man”, ultimately exploding with the uproaring “Duke Of Gloat”, definitely one of the peaks of an album which finds in its homogeneity a winning card, concluding this ass-kicking sextet with another black coat of paint: “The Key Is Inside The Wall” sums up everything that old school black metal is about, in seven, malignant minutes.
Irritating like a drill at 7AM, essential just as profanities are. Even today, Darkthrone are still a necessary entity, and it seems like they will be forever and ever.