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Darkthrone - Total Death
Review: The styles that Darkthrone has innovated in previous albums come through here in partial fragments, with a simpler more conventional style containing many of the bizarre yet simple communications that made Darkthrone famous as one of the blackest bands to play this minimalistic, aggressive style.
Speed tremelo melodies that infold the chaotic into the simple and structural, churning raw Celtic Frost hump-beats and sludge-riffs, and even the basic death metal influences that defined the first Darkthrone album compose the substyles utilized here. Yet these styles are disconnected and form an aesthetic background, but not an aesthetic direction, as earlier albums did that integrated artistic embellishment with a philosophical direction expressed in lyrics, appearance, and composition.
The rhythmic metaprocess is not as prevalent here as on Under a Funeral Moon, and sometimes the simplicity but more so predictability of certain riff element break cohesion further to make songs a listening endurance experience rather than a process of unfolding communication.
Within this constraint Darkthrone pump consistently engaging material in bent pieces of wire riffing and rhythmic augmentation through a competent walking drumbeat and obsessively recursive guitar rhythm riffing.
One additional power is a different melody from the simple illusory riff-melding of Transilvanian Hunger, a melodic sense buried within the chords and their interactions rather than emergent from the repetitive properties of similar notes. These integrations have forced frame-shifting rhythmic structures into the overall structure of the song, forcing the articulation to consider the structural in the context of the rebellious monotone stomp-beat black metal that builds much of the mood around the fewer parts of clarity that deliver the satisfaction of black metal aggression. This in turn forces more completeness into some of these parts, resulting in a finer grade of subsection without any enhancement in guiding mapping of artistic cohesion.
Many of these riffs are recycled, and the excuse of Celtic Frost tribute probably will not work the second album around, but Darkthrone never drop the overarching flow of the song and so keep up a perhaps less intellectualized but nonetheless pulse-engaging pace of the material. Most of this hinges on the racing-pace drumming of Fenriz, who alternates between bass and tom a pattern he accentuates with the echoing whisper of his high-hat, occasionally counterpointing with a noticeably sharp snare. Like all else in this music, relative contrast defines the necessary mood and manipulates its consistency to relate a process to the listener in a sense of the abstract, using relative position to illustrate universality.
Satyr of Satyricon, Ihsahn, and others contribute to these lyrics, which produce both interesting and useless, discombinant subsections of ideas. The relentless forward motion easily encompasses those and any other floating elements into the integument of dark aspect and manipulates it all as the vast circus of despair it is, flinging lost cries into the abyssfully forgetful human maw of perception. Characteristic vocals and riding percussion patterns are here, as are all the styles you would expect, but in the unseen world beneath this stuff is not as intense as earlier works, although in some senses its individual parts are more proficiently composed.