"Sardonic Wrath" (The End; Moonfog; 2005)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I was all set to completely dislike "Sardonic Wrath" as what I've heard from the band's early material was not something I'd normally gravitate toward. Most of this was due to the band's preferred sound which in my book I call 'shitty.' Officially, it was the stuff of legend as Darkthrone's rumbling, under-produced sound made them standard-bearers in the origins of underground Norwegian black metal.

Alas, I've never been able to truly dig the old-school metal sound. I've never 'gotten' Bathory, Venom, Aura Noir, or similar bands. However, I do like Celtic Frost and early Samael so I knew I wasn't completely adverse to the traditional black metal sound.

However, it's been ages since I've actually heard Darkthrone especially their recent material. So, I wanted to keep as open a mind as possible as I know that this Norwegian band has been quite productive over the years. "Sardonic Wrath" did catch me by surprise as the mid-paced grooves and consistent nods to the true-metal sound made this disc a rather pleasant surprise. Quite a few songs really made me stop what I was doing not because it was so great, but because my preconception of what Darkthrone is (has become?) was literally blown out of the water. I heard a lot more straight-forward metal approach than I ever thought I'd hear.

Despite my praise I won't be running out to buy Darkthrone's back catalog but at least I know my time was not wasted listening to "Sardonic Wrath."

"Sardonic Wrath" was produced by Darkthrone.

Darkthrone: Nocturno Culto on guitars, bass, and vocals, and Fenriz on drums and vocals.

For more information visit http://www.darkthrone.no/

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 26 Sep 2022 12:18:28 -0400.