Darkthrone – Eternal Hails……
Released: June 25, 2021
Fenriz // Drums, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
Nocturno Culto // Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Last week Norwegian Black Metal masters Darkthrone dropped their nineteenth album Eternal Hails… In the past month or so, in the build up to this release, a lot has been said about the length of the songs and the fact that the duo chose to record this album in a commercial studio instead of using the trademark Necrohell II, which succeeded NecroHell I when it “became too Necro and died” (revisit our interview with Fenriz discussing its demise here).
Despite the change in the recording process, Eternal Hails has not fallen for the temptation of bells, whistles and studio magic, in fact, it seems a bit more LoFi and raw in comparison to their previous two albums, Old Star and Arctic Thunder. This album has definitely kept the Darkthrone DNA.
This won’t release won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, that being said, it most certainly is this buffoon’s cup of tea. All of the songs are looooong. Every track is 7+ minutes long. Having every song this length can sometimes come at a risk of sounding repetitive and/or pretentious. However, Fenriz and Nocturno have managed to completely avoid this, over the several times I have listened to this album in the past few days I have not once thought “Gee these guys are having it on a bit aren’t they” or “they probably could have just cut this part”. Every section of all the tracks seem purposeful and required. In a word, this album is nothing short of epic.
There is a clear influence of bands such as Celtic Frost and Candlemass. Eternal Hails… is a nod to the old masters of doom. The songs are epic and freewheeling having an almost 70’s metal vibe, while also containing sections of thrash and black metal. There’s some spacey synth thrown in there and even parts that sound like they belong in a D-Beat punk song all the while keeping with the cold, dark sound that is Darkthrone. It’s a mash-mash but it’s done well.
Eternal Hails… was not an album that grabbed me straight away, and when I heard the earlier released single ‘Hate Cloak’ for the first time, I was not super excited. I mean, it’s Darkthrone, whatever they do is going to be great but it just didn’t blow my trumpet immediately. However, after hearing the single in the album I have completely changed my tune, it is a great song and this album gets better with every listen. If I’m going to pick a track off this album as the best, it’d have to be ‘Voyage To The North Pole Adrift’, it’s riffy, it’s doomy and it’s dark but it’s also got a Nocturno solo that’s pretty neat.
If you are looking for a straight up black metal album like something from Darkthrone’s infamous early 90s era this might not be for you, but if you want something riff-heavy, doomy and epic featuring some straight up, old-school, heavy fucking metal then this is the album you’ve been waiting for. This is definitely a win for me, I can see myself coming back to this album time and time again and I can’t wait to see what these guys are cooking up for us next.
1. His Master`s Voice [07:17]
2. Hate Cloak [09:16]
3. Wake of the Awakened [08:24]
4. Voyage to a North Pole Adrift [09:24]
5. Lost Arcane City of Uppakra [07:02]