Album Review: Darkthrone - It Beckons Us All

Album Review: Darkthrone - It Beckons Us All

Enigmatic duo and Norwegian Black Metal legends Darkthrone have made a highly anticipated return with their 21st studio album It Beckons Us All. With an impressive career so far and extensive discography, the band have once again expanded on their capabilities and pushed the boundaries of extreme metal.

Fenriz says:

"I am having difficulties putting into words my personal feelings around the existential title It Beckons Us All, I can only hope others out there can feel the darkness that encompasses it."

Nocturno adds:

"We recorded in the manner we always do, live, meaning drums and guitar, with another guitar added later. We found a new twist during this process that surely benefited this album. Fenriz did stellar clean vocals on several songs, and his way of thinking creatively made it so good. We also shared the bass work this time around. We added a lot of extra layers like solo guitars… it was just a cauldron of ideas. Instead of finding a plug-in or choir synth patch, we both recorded four vocal tracks each. Darkthrone is an ever-evolving band, as many should know by now, and this album is touching a bit into the heavy genre. I have no idea what genre we are, and have really not cared much about it, but I know for sure it’s metal.

'Howling Primitive Colonies' opens with a distorted, slightly uncomfortable but very brief synth which introduces the dark riffs and rhythmical drums. Harsh, preaching vocals cut through the dense instrumentation and hammering anvil tolls. A heavy doom element is prevalent here as the track chugs along at a groove-laden, mid-tempo pace full of doomy riffs and atmosphere. 'Eon 3' fades in with serious, chugging riffage which branches in to the death-doom territory on a foundation of black metal. 'Black Dawn Affiliation' picks up the pace at a rolling gallop with dark melodies, flurries of riffs and pummeling drums. The halfway point darkens even further with haunting monastic chants and thunderous atmosphere; a definite highlight of the record. 'And In That Moment I Knew The Answer' sways in to action and showcases the band's musical prowess. Purely instrumental in nature, this track focuses on catchy guitar hooks and technical solos but also swings like a sledgehammer.

'The Bird People Of Norland' trudges its way through various tempo changes; alternating from progressively catchy riffs and flurries of black metal shreddage. This track is both thunderously dark yet enticing. Whammy bar solos scream through the conclusion of the track to ensure things gallop along nicely. 'The Heavy Hand' drones and swings with a colossal force, relying once again on a very dense, doom element interspersed with rasping, vocals. 'The Lone Pines Of The Lost Planet' may be the conclusion of the record but don't think for one second you're in for a reprieve. At a massive 10 minutes long, this track is a monumental soundscape full of moody rhythms, interesting Black Sabbath-esque style and experimentation. The guitarwork takes centre-stage on this track as it twists and turns in all its dark and gloomy glory. Towards the latter third of the track, you're transported in to a dissonant void with trickling water, giving the impression of falling in to an endless abyss. But just as you think the track has ended, it launches into old school heavy metal riffs and melodies with powerful clean vocals echoing all around you before fading out.

It Beckons Us All is a black metal record but it incorporates various elements of extreme metal to keep it fresh. With four decades and 21 studio albums under their belt, Darkthrone have crafted an album that stays true to their legacy.

Rating: 7.5/10
Release Date: April 26th 2024
Released By: Peaceville Records
FFO: Bathory, Emperor, Immortal, Dark Funeral, Gorgoroth

Track List

01 - Howling Primitive Colonies
02 - Eon 3
03 - Black Dawn Affiliation
04 - And In That Moment I Knew The Answer
05 - The Bird People Of Nordland
06 - The Heavy Hand
07 - The Lone Pines Of The Lost Planet

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