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Darkthrone - The Roots of Evilness (live)
Review: From the age of classic Darkthrone a snapshot of the seminal band in several stages of evolution reveals promising degrees of separation between original song and live version, preserving the essential while varying the contextual in a delicious layering of perspective for any die-hard fan of modern black metal. Three sessions of recording exist on this production, although the bulk of the material is the fairly lucid live representation that is the first session.
Esberg, Denmark, captures the young Darkthrone playing the germ material of their first album in an instrumentally dominated passage of rapid events. A nervous speaker begins the set: We have come a long way. In abraded and noisy passages oxidized by analog anomalistic intensity most of the setlist from "Soulside Journey" is heard in crass amplification, with incomprehensibly overdriven vocals selectively appearing in the texture of the song. This section contains enough variation to please a critical but not cynical fan.
Second comes a recording of Darkthrone's 1988 "Thulcandra" demo, bringing out all of the rawness and base nihilism of this ambitious but sometimes unfocused death metal. A strong tendency toward a slower, throbbing-walk pulse of strobe chant metal juxtaposed with passages of savagely anti-tonal blasting death metal makes this compelling but overwhelmingly disparate effort.
The third session is a single track from a 1992 tour that was played live somewhere in Norway, a scratchy blasted roaring incarnation of what appears to be "Kathaarian Life Code" with fragments of Celtic Frost intruding through similar riffs. As dissonant and murky as this track appears the fundamental power of the song shines through in the "soft background of blower noise" style of earlier Mayhem bootlegs. The newest material on the disk, this track nicely accentuates the progress through earlier material to more degenerative aspects of metal; where the death metal track "Archipelago" was simple atonal and grinding, the harsher faster lighter and more melodic material that finishes this album demonstrates a sublimated simplicity grinding toward a more articulated, violent future.