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Digital Subscriptions > Terrorizer Magazine > Terrorizer 275 Darkthrone > SELECTED DISSECTED







4-5 PASS




‘Wider Than The Sky’


It’s been five years already since ‘The Inside Room’, and that’s a lot of time to wait when the hunger is so great. One of the most unassumingly brilliant albums this side of the 21st century, it captured the emotional weight and the soft wall of sound perfected by Patrick Walker’s previous band, the equally amazing Warning, while mixing it with other sensibilities, mainly a very pastoral, contemplative feeling reminiscent of British folk music (one of the biggest influences which is now much more noticeable) and the quiet melancholy found in the very best singer/songwriters of the ‘70s in particular. It was only five songs, but we could have listened to them on loop forever if this follow-up had never materialised – and it very nearly didn’t.

Music business stuff happened, and for over a year now we’ve been listening to a few of the songs on this album during the band’s sporadic, but always remarkably meaningful live appearances, longing for the eventual record, as if there wasn’t enough longing in the music itself already. Our restless hearts can settle down now, though. The opening line of “If I was only wise enough / To know everything sure and true about myself / You would not be here” is Patrick Walker through and through, and the delivery is, though sober, so filled with latent emotion as to melt your heart straight away, getting it ready for the puddle it will be at the end. That’s also when you first realise that Patrick’s voice is much looser and willing to go places it didn’t go before. Maybe confidence, maybe also following the music, which is equally less constrained than it seemed on ‘The Inside Room’. Silly but appropriate metaphor, it really feels like the first album was music for that inside room, introspective, pressured and contained, and that this one brings it outside where it can move around and expand. It’s still a grey, cloudy day outside, but there’s a breeze and a bird here and there too. Despite the popular misconception, 40 Watt Sun was never just about the sadness – it’s not jolly music by any means, but its cracks are how the light gets in, paraphrasing master Cohen, whose poetic shadow is also cast here and there throughout these songs.

They’re really songs, too, perhaps more fleshed out and more perceptible than ‘The Inside Room’s five… movements, more than songs, and despite a seemingly lumbering six songs in 62 minutes, you barely notice the time going by. Hell, opener ‘Stages’ alone is sixteen minutes long, probably the most imperceptible quarter of an hour you’ll have this year with any song, and that feeling applies to the whole record too. It’s more relaxed, more uncluttered than the band’s ever been, the flow and interplay between acoustic and electric parts is masterfully accomplished, and the melodies insinuate themselves so naturally that it won’t even feel like a catchy album until you find yourself whistling all of the lyrics and guitar lines. “But now you don’t see me trying, do you?”, Patrick asks during ‘Stages’, and no, we really don’t. For most of its duration, ‘Wider Than The Sky’ seems like three guys sat down and just started playing this stuff straight from their hearts.



‘Incoming Death’


It is rare, but they are death metal legends for a reason: Asphyx, even with constant lineup changes (the sole original member, drummer Bob Bagchus, left amicably in 2014), have soldiered on, growing better with time, and ‘Incoming Death’, their ninth full-length release in their near 30-year career emphatically proves this. The title refers to WWI and the horror associated with front-line infantry sitting in the trenches awaiting impending bombardment. They waste little time on opener ‘Candiru’; Paul Baayens’ disemboweling guitar, Alwin Zuur’s bludgeoning bass, the skull-rattling war drums courtesy of new basher, Stefan “Husky” Hüskens (Desaster) and Martin Van Duren’s unmistakable death rattle immediately assault the listener, effectively setting the stage for the devastating ebb and flow that follows. ‘Division Brandenburg’ beautifully settles, for lack of a better word, into their signature, huge death/doom riff-oriented style with the uncompromising ‘Wardroid’ and fantastical, murderous ‘The Feeder’ following in quick succession. ‘It Came From The Skies’ subtly nods to Bolt Thrower, the harrowing title track, mirroring ‘Candiru’, gallops at full fury, and ‘Forerunners Of The Apocalypse’ and ‘Wildland Fire’ stand as prime examples of the sinister groove they so readily command. All of this is fine, great even, but where ‘Incoming Death’ truly makes a profound impression are the sombre and contemplative ‘The Grand Denial’, ‘Subterra Incognita’, and the chill-inducing closer ‘Death… The Only Immortal’, which contain a sense of gravity that most contemporary death metal lacks. As a whole, Asphyx has never sounded finer and ‘Incoming Death’ only adds to their legacy.




“‘Incoming Death’ was, music-wise, composed in perhaps ten minutes when Husky and Paul were checking the sound in the Perle Am Rhein studio for the flexi recordings. When we all freaked out on it, we knew we had the title track for the album. Straight forward, no nonsense, three riff, in-your-face death metal. Not that we were looking for a title track that would be in the tradition of ‘Death… The Brutal Way’ or ‘Deathhammer’ – it just came out like this. It’s a damn neckbreaker to raise hell to when playing live and that’s why the choice for the track was only natural. So grab a beer, bang that head and scream along. This is fuckin’ Asphyx and we always deliver the goods!”


‘The Final Damnation’


It’s refreshing to have a band remove the ‘fucks-given’ filter to extol good ol’ sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll debauchery. That said tongue-in-cheek homage is backed by inescapably infectious blackened thrash of the filthiest order makes signing any online petition to hang, draw and castrate the loveable Yasuyuki Suzuki and the Venom, Bulldozer, Motörhead and Sabbatworshipping trio he masterminds an internal battle SJWs will agonise over. Does one maintain the anally lodged stick and take to Facebook to whine about ‘Whiskey, Coke And Bitch’, ‘Sex And Metal’ and ‘Sweet Baby Metal Sluts’ despite uncontrollably headbanging behind closed doors? Regardless, we’ll be here with our ids turned off, raging like lunatics.



‘The Infernal Depths Of Hatred’


Anata are one of the more overlooked bands to come out of the ’90s Swedish death metal scene. This reissue of their 1998 debut album has been remastered for the first time on vinyl, boasting a very warm production. Anata perfectly walk the tightrope between the fast melodicism of their peers At The Gates, Arch Enemy and In Flames, yet strive towards a more technical style, almost reaching the complex playing of Nile and Necrophagist. This debut sits closer to the typical melodeath sound than their following works. Ferocious and brutal, yet at times beautiful, this album should be mentioned amongst death metal classics. ‘Slain Upon His Altar’ in particular is truly mesmerising.



‘Voice Of The Void’


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About Terrorizer Magazine

It’s always a pleasure to feature Darkthrone on the cover of Terrorizer. They are a truly reliable band that not only continue to deliver utterly awesome songs, but fly the flag for the metal underground. New album ‘Artic Thunder’ doesn’t disappoint and we hope you’ll enjoy our cover feature as much as I enjoyed reading it when it landed in my inbox. September is always a time when the music industry recovers from the summer festivals and starts to look forward to closure on the year, and believe it or not, start to think about 2017 and next year’s releases. On the horizon there’s new albums from a newly reformed The Obsessed and Obituary just to whet your appetite already. Next year marks the 30th anniversary of Celtic Frost’s ‘Into The Pandemonium’, so I hope to see some kind of reissue. Noise/Tom G – if you’re reading! In the meantime, the rest of the year will see an awesome line-up at this year’s Damnation Festival in Leeds and a fuck load more releases to look forward to – including amazing albums by Venom Prison, 40 Watt Sun, Lucifer’s Chalice and The Dillinger Escape Plan, to name just a few. I’ve also just finished reading former Cro-Mags bassist Harley Flanagan’s biography which is utterly fantastic. It’s out at the end of this month, we’ll be bringing you an interview next issue...