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Darkthrone - Goatlord
Review: Darkthrone explores death metal with this older release, featuring the same style of percussion as on Soulside Journey underneath more rugged, basic, experimental metal. The guitars play the beginnings of the somnolent dark melodic lines of later albums with the vocal and rhythmic pacing of the more chant-based tracks off "Under a Funeral Moon." Surprising most is the presence of slower, doomy elements and the structural position of rhythm in these bizarre songs.
Unfinished sounding and often rough, the songs on this album break down our knowledge of song structures, using riffs that are essentially connecting phrases of notes or melodic markers of harmonic parameters. Synchronizing guitar tremelo plays into the thrashing but coordinated drum messaging, which instead of existing as framework in the rigid deathmetal sense plays closer to a jazz style of shadowing and facilitating the work of the other players.
Music is built from the simple elements with some of the fascination with inexorable conclusions as found on later Darkthrone releases but here demonstrates a death metallian need to create cities of simple structures to reflect a complex relationship between them all. Pulled through with almost-pop hooks sometimes, guitars work with melody lines over sweeping chord lines and combinatoric power chord riffs.
Trademark Darkthrone vocals, slower and with less dominating echo perhaps, rest on top of these gentle yet savage tracks of metal experimentation, with female vocals and random guest noises on some songs. They lead or ride with musical development but rarely demonstrate any fundamental capacity except as lower end rhythmic calibration. Lead guitar shows bizarre experimentation also, with off-beat inflections and tonal wanderings under a mosaic of shifting tempo.
A Burzum influence in the slower riffs and simple interludes, and a knowledge and focus on musical epiphany, reflect themselves in the composition of these songs which also call to mind some of the rhythmic work of bands like Gorguts, Demilich, or Cadaver. Despite older style production and unfinished nature of this composition, its organization shows over the aesthetic of riff salad and it proves a rewarding listen.