Album Review: Darkthrone – Astral Fortress (Peaceville Records)

By: Jesse Striewski

I’m not as privy when it comes to black metal these days as I might have once been, but Darkthrone is one band I still hold appreciation for no matter how distant from the genre I may have become. At this point, core members Fenriz and Nocturno Culto have become the Lennon and McCartney of the extreme metal genre.

Astral Fortress, the band’s twentieth full-length album (released just one year since their previous outing, Eternal Hails), finds the group hard at work conjuring more sinister numbers that sound as though they came straight from hell. No time is wasted right off the bat, as the band unleash the nearly eight-minute long “Caravan of Broken Ghosts.” And although only seven tracks total, the length of many songs makes it feel even longer, with “The Sea Beneath the Seas of Seas” clocking in at over ten minutes long. Other titles like “Kevorkian Times” and “Eon 2” are more straight forward and direct to the point.

I usually have to be in the right mood to listen to black metal, but once I do I usually find myself totally immersed in the isolated nature of it all. Darkthrone are a force to be reckoned with, and a perfect starting point for anyone just now getting into extreme metal.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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