- Band(s): Darkthrone
- Release Format(s): 12" vinyl, CD
- Release Year: 2004
- Review Date: September 13, 2004
- Author(s): FelixS
What is to be said about Darkthrone Unholy Darkthrone? I skip the introduction part of the review and go directly to the new album. Already very quick after the release of “Hate Them” they finished the recordings of “Sardonic Wrath”, that actually leaked on the net already around last January. So for many there is nothing surprising with the release of the album, but if we’re very honest there is hardly any surprise we can expect from Darkthrone, for it is always unmistakable these Norwegians and no one else. Copied over a thousand times but never equalled, and that is exactly what “Sardonic Wrath” is all about, 100% Darkthrone.
After a few spins it is actually more than clear that this aforementioned statement is to be very underlined by this great black opus – and it is always a pleasant thing to stumble upon that actually 99% of the black metal scene of today can’t hook up with the quality presented by the real ancestors of the Norwegian scene – to be really blatant. I could actually say that “Sardonic Wrath” begins where “Hate Them” ended, the link between both albums can easily be drawn. Mixing up both the Norwegian and English language with titles such as “Hate Is The Law” (which will get the fans of older Darkthrone go nuts!) will definitely ring a bell and recall to “Fucked Up And Ready To Die”, which sounds a little trendy in my ears. Nevertheless, the music remained raw and with a certain rock and roll vibe (more about this later on) which could already be experienced in “Hate Them”. Though, there is enough that keep the albums apart from considering it a double album released with a year between the release of both chapters. “Sardonic Wrath” captures a more historical overlook on their career. Throughout the whole album I can hear the different stages of what they’ve done in the past. From a kind of death metal passages which reminds on the debut, the “Soulside Journey”-LP. To the more Bathory alike “Man Tenker Sitt” and when we will draw that link to “Hate Them” again; “Sjakk Matt Jesu Krist” sounds very much as a leftover from that album – though I think the word ‘leftover’ is something which never goes for Darkthrone, so let’s see it as a song they must’ve been forgetting. Other than this I think this album has a more rock and roll vibe through it – which I already mentioned before. That’s best be heard in a song like “Straightening Sharks In Heaven”.
With every release it is harder to define what is my favourite Darkthrone album. And it must be clear that “Sardonic Wrath” scores pretty high marks over here. I was pleasantly surprised by its predecessor since “Plaguewielder” disappointed me a little, and now that same predecessor has got some hard time competing with this new great album. This is definitely a highlight in 2004’s metallic releases and simply one of the best black metal albums I heard over the last few years.