Darkthrone – The Cult Is Alive (2006)

Just quickly gonna put dibs on a review of this seeing as there’s three of us writing now (four if Kristian gets off his ass and follows up with more). Darkthrone’s The Cult Is Alive marked a turning point in the band’s career; effectively buffeting their sails with a healthy second wind that easily saw them extending their legacy by another ten years or so. Let’s face it, by the late 90s / early 2000s, Darkthrone’s output was lacking somewhat. Nothing particularly terrible surfaced, but there was an awful lot of old shit coming out and being re-packaged, and then that was followed by records that were, dare I say it, almost like Darkthrone’s attempts at nu-metal (or should that be the effects of the dire 90s rubbing off even on one of metal’s most innovating bands). Again, not particularly bad, but albums like Hate Them and Sardonic Wrath lacked the freezing fire that Under A Funeral Moon and Transylvanian Hunger had.

But I digress. Moving swiftly along to the mid 00s, and Darkthrone dropped this fucker, seemingly out of nowhere, hitting the refresh button on their career. If someone told me 15 years ago that Darkthrone were a punk band I’d have a good chuckle at their genre-defining-ineptitude (actually I probably would have asked you who Darkthrone are, but there you go). Moving black metal into crust punk territories has been done a thousand times over, but let’s face it; Darkthrone opened this type of shit up to a whole new generation of metalheads who hadn’t quite made it to checking out Hellhammer yet. 

“Cult Of Goliath” is the ferocious opener, and the single off here (if that terminology is correct) is “Too Old, Too Cold”; a bitter and almost tired number, whose malice carries the nonchalant crust along sufficiently enough as not to become boring. “Graveyard Slut” has Fenriz taking on vocal duties in lieu of everyone’s favourite grim and frostbitten school teacher, Nocturno Culto, and is also one of the greatest songs in the history of time. “Shut Up” is also another amazing stand out track with some fantastic lyrics (“begging for this and asking for that / shut up, fucking twat!”), as is the crusty-favourite, “Whiskey Funeral”. 

This record proved so immensely successful that the next four Darkthrone records essentially followed the same template (although the latest one to date was a bit King Diamond-y for me). Strongly recommended listening!