Darkthrone – Eternal Hails (Album Review)

When it comes to Darkthrone, there are few bands with such an honest approach to songwriting that can be said to be so divisive. Vaulting out of obscurity back in the 1980s, the band credited with solidifying what we know as Norwegian Black Metal has morphed and spliced their sound to encompass more genres than just the one which made them household names.

Which lead us to present times with the arrival of Eternal Hails the nineteenth studio album the duo of Fenriz and Nocturnal Culto has produced. Released on Friday, June 25th via Peaceville Records, it features five new songs lasting forty-five minutes, and also has one of the best album covers of 2021. So where do we find these crafty veterans now? Can their music be pigeon-holed into any genres, and at this point, does that even matter? 

When the rich tones of opener “His Master’s Voice” come in, the necro production and Heavy Metal soul remind one of old Sodom, Celtic Frost, and Black Sabbath, with nods toward Black Metal in the vocal department and in the atmosphere. There is also a Punk feel that Darkthrone has infused now for several album cycles. At this point, fans are either cool with it or they’ve moved on; Darkthrone certainly don’t care. The duo come from vastly diverse backgrounds, and over a couple of decades have declined to be just a carbon copy of their past.

Moving on, smooth leads build in for “Hate Cloak.” Featuring a very 1970s overall feel, this is Death/Doom in slow-paced grandeur. With “Wake of the Awakened” they return right to mid-paced catchiness and riffs all day that is for sure an album highlight. Though Darkthrone has written lengthy songs, they don’t do it often and with “Voyage to a North Pole Adrift” they certainly do it well. Lastly the album closes with “Lost Arcane City of Uppakra,” which features a psychedelic lead break toward the end to spice things up in a more cosmic direction.

Overall, Darkthrone manage to make true Heavy Metal that sounds both filthy and accessible. This is Darkthrone in 2021, and the results are pretty damn great. That is Cryptic Rock gives this Eternal Hails 4.5 out of 5 stars.  

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