"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Darkthrone - "The Underground Resistance" (CD)

Darkthrone - "The Underground Resistance" CD cover image

"The Underground Resistance" track listing:

1. Dead Early (4:49)
2. Valkyrie (5:14)
3. Lesser Men (4:55)
4. The Ones You Left Behind (4:16)
5. Come Warfare, the Entire Doom (8:37)
6. Leave No Cross Unturned (13:49)

Reviewed by on February 26, 2013

"...the duo of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto keep the music raw and about as underground as it gets. The album won’t please everyone, but Darkthrone proves that the early metal cult is indeed still alive with these six eclectic tracks."

Metal has come a long way since “A Blaze in the Northern Sky,” but Darkthrone still knows how to take a soulside journey across pretty much every sub-genre ever invented in 40 minutes or less. Their latest output, “The Underground Resistance,” was perfectly named, because the duo of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto keep the music raw and about as underground as it gets. The album won’t please everyone, but Darkthrone proves that the early metal cult is indeed still alive with these six eclectic tracks.

Every track the album has to offer attacks from a completely different angle, playing genre whack-a-mole. There’s death metal influences in there, with “Come Warfare, the Entire Doom” featuring deep growls and simplistic riffing along the lines of early Therion, but it’s not all total death. Opening cut “Dead Early” brings out the punk aesthetic, especially in the guitars, which are much more energetic and frenzied than what you’d hear from a black or death metal band.

“Valkyrie” starts off as a slower moving and more poignant track, the likes of which you’d want to listen to under a funeral moon, before bringing out the album’s oddball clean vocal work. Combined with the muffled production, the clean singing on this track and “The Ones You Left Behind” are a throwback to another era, but if the nostalgia aspect isn’t your thing, you’ll probably hate them.

Easily the most unexpected style change-up occurs on ending song “Leave No Cross Unturned,” which barrels headfirst into ultra-cheesy power metal (complete with high-pitched vocals), along with a good deal of ‘80s thrash for good measure. All these differing genres may leave fans of the band’s early work wondering where all the ravishing grimness went, but fear not, for “Lesser Men” offers up the throaty, gargled black metal vocals.

“The Underground Resistance” is unquestionably fun, but it’s not particularly coherent, as each of these tracks might as well populate completely different albums. I suspect the band would tell detractors bothered by this fact to F.O.A.D. and that anyone who digs the more raw side of metal needs to “circle the wagons,” so to speak, to show some support for these guys who have been spreading the Transilvanian hunger for decades now.

Highs: Masters of the early metal scene have fun working across every sub-genre

Lows: The album is entirely incoherent, and the sound quality will likely be too raw for many

Bottom line: Death, doom, black, power, and punk are all explored in 40 minutes by everyone's favorite underground Norwegian duo.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)