It’s hard to even refer to Darkthrone as a black metal band anymore, as they seem to have gone full speed metal/crust punk since The Cult Is Alive and perhaps most notably F.O.A.D. But if you think I’m complaining, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. While the duo of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto (who is still writing in a bit of a black metal style) have admitted their last few albums have been demos, it’s done nothing but increased the charm of Norway’s dynamic duo.
Circle The Wagons follows much of the same format of the last three records, down to the artwork, with Culto and Fenriz trading song-for-song and tackling music industry bullshit (“I Am The Graves Of The ‘80s”), the economy (“I Am The Working Class”) and the metaphysical (“Running For Borders”). The title track is the Norwegian metal punk singalong that the band has always included recently, although “I Am The Working Class” is probably the most memorable.
Still, Darkthrone are all charm—particularly of late—and Circle The Wagons is no exception. It’s some good, honest, down home Norwegian “fuck everyone” music, and if that’s your kind of thing, this is another satisfying underground release.