Release Date: Feb 26, 2013
Record label: Peaceville Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Review Summary: A sweet, stylistic mess that satisfies the primal urge for all things metalIt’s not often enough that I get to hear an album so bold and so enjoyable as The Underground Resistance. The sounds that may have been abandoned by the larger metal realm as passé have been picked up by Darkthrone as innovation via regression; a retrograde rebellion that takes all that was once fun in heavy metal and shows it on one succinct and powerful record. It has been a long time coming, that’s for sure, because since The Cult is Alive things in the Darkthrone camp have been largely up in the air, with stylistic offerings from the likes of crust and punk to classic heavy metal with a slight lick of black metal each making an appearance, but all of it hasn’t quite come together in the way it had the potential to – until now.
Coming hot on the heels of the recent reissue of 1992’s iconic A Blaze In The Northern Sky, The Underground Resistance is confirmation, if any were needed, that Darkthrone are now an altogether different beast to the one that helped introduce Norwegian black metal to the world two decades ago. Coming three years after its predecessor, Circle The Wagons, the band’s latest opus sees them digging even further into classic old school punk and heavy metal – a move that will continue to infuriate some devotees of their genre-defining 90s output, while nonetheless pleasing more open-minded metal fans. Either way, the album can probably be considered the most successful effort of the band’s current incarnation, with members Fenriz and Nocturno Culto balancing the visceral and organic spirit that has long defined their output with an increasingly considered (but never, ever polished) approach to songwriting.
The Underground Resistance is a fitting title for a Darkthrone record. The Norwegian pairing of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto have played an enormous part in leading the underground metal resistance, and their lifelong passion for metal has resulted in Darkthrone releasing records that have touched upon numerous sub-genres and pioneered others. From death metal beginnings to their hugely influential black metal period and onward to their recent crust-punk fixation, Darkthrone have been forerunning trends and blazing their own uncompromising path for 27 years.
When you think of Darkthrone, you think of fun, right? If you scoffed, guffawed, or simply disagreed, don't worry-- you're safely in the majority. The Norwegian band are best known, of course, for what their 1999 album labeled "ravishing grimness"-- savage, belligerent, and unfiltered black metal, epitomized by a blitz of icy hot classics that started with 1992's A Blaze in the Northern Sky and end, depending upon your stance on Second Wave orthodoxy and eclecticism, sometime just before or after the turn of the millennium. They're the dudes that epitomized ghoulish corpsespaint covers, brandished the credo "True Norwegian Black Metal," and fended off Aryan allegations as Varg Vikernes headed to jail.