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Darkthrone – ‘Astral Fortress’

Peaceville Records
Bathory, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, Craft, Pest
Release Date
October 28, 2022
Peaceville Records
Black/Heavy/Speed Metal

                There is an art to being cool and often, what goes hand in hand with this is the ability to look nonchalant, cool, smokin’ out back behind a pair of sunglasses is not giving one solitary fuck. Two people who have managed to accomplish this throughout their career are Nocturno Culto and Fenriz who are back just over a year since their last release as Darkthrone return with their latest album ‘Astral Fortress’.

                With a band like Darkthrone, the listener knows exactly what they are getting. Throughout the last 15 years, the Norwegian black metal legends have delivered album after album of solid black metal and ‘Astral Fortress’ is no different. With ‘Astral Fortress’, Darkthrone continue to dig into that almost blackened heavy/speed tone with enough crust to remind the listener who they are. Therefore, this is an album with thunderous blastbeats and rapid-fire guitars tearing through a deliberately lo-fi sounding production. However, we know this really isn’t lo-fi, Darkthrone deliver a high-quality production which does its best to hark back to the golden age of black metal. There isn’t anything overly complex here, ‘Astral Fortress’ sticks to simplicity to the point where it even feels ‘live’ at times, particularly during ‘The Sea Beneath the Seas of the Seas’ with its interlude that has all the elements of a band unsure as to what to do next before bringing it back around.

                In all honesty, if you’re shocked by this album, you probably haven’t been keeping your finger on the Darkthrone pulse. ‘Astral Fortress’ is a good album of black metal done right, there aren’t any surprises, but it really is enjoyable, and it wouldn’t be a shock to anyone if this was riding high come the end of the year.

"solid, but no surprises"

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