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Review: Darkthrone - Circle the Wagons
Circle the Wagons

Label: Peaceville Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 40:38
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: June 16, 2010
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Circle the Wagons

Rated 3.96/5 (79.23%) (52 Votes)

The last time I reviewed a Darkthrone album was in 2001, and they were still 100% Black Metal at the time. As most people know, the band has been steering away from Black Metal with the past couple of albums, and Circle the Wagons confirms that trend. I must say I didn't like the album much the first couple of times I listened to it, and then all of a sudden it just clicked and I've been enjoying (for the most part) the old school fest that this is.

Gone are the Black Metal vocals. The vocals here are clean, going from kind of melodious to pretty aggressive. Unfortunately the quality of the vocals varies a lot – they're OK for the most part, but I just can't stand the style used on the title track. Add the repetitive and annoying beginning of closer "Bränn Inte Slottet" and that sums up my main annoyances with this album – that wasn't so bad, was it... ;)

Musically Darkthrone have gone old school Heavy Metal almost all the way, reminding me strongly of Brocas Helm and their charmingly disorderly style. There's a hint of punk in there as well, and one can even hear some subtle hints of raw, thrashy Black Metal à la Megiddo blended in here and there. So this is decidedly old school and raw, early to mid 80s style and borrowing nothing from the more "mainstream" metal band of the era. There's a bit of 70s-style guitar work to be found in here as well and, having read a few interviews, I wouldn't be surprised if they were to throw in more of that in the future.

Circle the Wagons needs a little time to click, especially if you were fond of their Black Metal years. Varied enough to keep things interesting through and through, this is worth listening to attentively.

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