DARKTHRONE 'Sardonic Wrath' Moonfog Records (2004)
The waiting period before the release of every Darkthrone album is normally quite a pleasant and relaxing experience for me. Most of the people I know are very impressed by my reaction Ė they somehow expect me to be much more nervous and apprehensive, as it normally happens to people that are dedicated to the music of a certain band.
Well, that may be happening with most of the bands that I like, but certainly not with Darkthrone. Itís neither the fact that I am the kind of person who takes things for granted, nor that my interest for the band has lessened throughout the years. Itís just that I know that no matter what kind of elements the Norwegian duet will decide to add to their music, the result will be 100% Darkthrone. Well, it seems like I was proved right once more Ė after spending six days in an Oslo studio, working with Lars Klokkerhaug (the engineer who was also responsible for the bandís previous album 'Hate Them), diabolical guitar riffs were recorded alongside evil screams and aggressive drummingÖ and 'Sardonic Wrath' was born.
Last time I spoke with Patrizia from Moonfog records, knowing how much I loved 'Hate Them', she told me that I would definitely end up appreciating the bandís new effort even more. Well, the dark-haired Italian Metalhead was actually more than right.
'Sardonic Wrath' is another great album that combines elements from all the different stages in the bandís history, but with a much more mature and realistic approach than that of their previous releases. The band seems to be less limited as to the sounds that they chose to use, meaning that Death Metal elements which were presented in the bandís debut album 'Soulside Journey' and in 'Goatlord' are used once again.
Nocturno Culto and Fenriz have been around long enough to know that music is not only about evolution, but also about keeping the values and the elements that make your sound unique. That means that alongside classic Darkthrone compositions like 'Information Wants to be Syndicated', 'Sjakk Matt Jesu Krist', and 'Hate is the Law'(this song has vocals that will impress all Darkthrone loyalists), you will find Epic Black Metal compositions like 'Straightening Sharks in Heaven' and 'Man Tenker Sitt' which I bet were influenced by the almighty Bathory (The death of an important musician such as Quorthon will definitely generate inspiration to all Extreme Metal bands). Finally it is quite interesting to see how Nocturno Culto managed to even apply Rock níRoll elements to his riffs, the result of which is 'Sacrificing to the God of Doubt'.
Extra credit must be given to the Italian artist Lorenzo Mariani, who had the inspiration for the album cover - only an Italian could imagine Angels with corpse paint descending from the skies. Excellent artwork! It seems like Darkthrone did it once again. 'Sardonic Wrath' came at the right time to remind us all which band deserves to sit on the Throne of the ruler of the Black Metal scene, and thatís none other than Darkthrone.
Gather round me Metalheads, I have a very important announcement to make: The best candidate for the prize of the Extreme Metal release of 2004 will hit the stores on the sixth of September, and thatís none other than 'Sardonic Wrath' - well I think that youíre all booked for that Monday - am I right or not?
Review by John Stefanis