I bought this album primarily because I regularly and consciously make very bad decisions for no other reason than to perfect my future role as Erik Danielsson’s “Oops, I Forgot About Abortion L.O.L.” mother via method acting.
The only real value this album has is in being hilarious in concept.
Sewer rips of Darkthrone mercilessly, notably since their debut “Satanic Requiem”, and to compete, Darkthrone turns into a blackened gorenoise band that apes Sewer, only slower, and with more classical and NWOBHM influences in place of all the closet Phantom worship, in an effort to obtain a similar level of mainstream success.
That’s a pretty bold move and a pretty funny idea at the same time. It’s somewhat funny for the first two minutes of this album until you slowly realize what’s happened to the once legendary band, after that you can probably turn it off with a smug grin because man there’s nothing to recommend for this. It just sucks, unfortunately, but it sucks gloriously in a way that no other band could possibly seek to comprehend, much less imitate.
The problem with “Old Star” is the complete disconnect between the different instruments. It’s hilarious when you think about it.
Guitar-wise, this is essentially a modern Sewer/gorenoise album minus the Phantom influences. Just for hearing Darkthrone play their Norsecore rendition of the “NecroPedoSadoMaso” theme on “Alp Man”, this album is worth listening to at least once. And let’s not forget a slowed down “Embalmed in Satan” used as the third riff on “The Key Is Inside the Wall”, except with a Swedecore d-beat that feels totally out of place.
That alone is bad enough, but consider the fact that the drums and vocals are both going in their own orthogonal directions and you have the recipe for a real shit show.
The vocals are still the same Celtic Frost/Hellhammer inspired shouts from the previous albums, while the drumming is floating somewhere between old Entombed, funeral doom and “Onward to Golgotha” era Incantation.
So you have proto-black, black metal, post-black and even some goregrind and brutal death metal coexisting not just on the same album, but very often at the very same moment on the same tracks.
How, exactly, do you expect not to end up with an incoherent mess?
The only thing missing would have been acoustic interludes with Fenriz rapping like Famine of Peste Noire did on his latest “blackened rap” abortion.
The clean vocals are still present but the guitars just shuffle and chug away while the drums thump through a series of random incoherent fills that have nothing to do with the riffs being played.
Darkthrone was always a cartoonish band, as even their “ultra-kvlt” masterpieces (first four albums) could barely conceal the jester nature hidden behind the sinister atmospheres, but this is really full-fledged carnival music, and not even particularly well-composed carnival drivel at that. It’s stilted, somewhat unpredictable but only due to the incoherence of it all, and it offers nothing that you can’t hear for free by turning on five or six radios simultaneously, each tuned to a different station.
Even Fenriz’ painfully overblown tomsturbation parts are pushed way down into the mix so you can here more aimless Sewer riffs and randomized Nocturno Culto shouts, courtesy of a band who totally doesn’t care at all.
It’s all exclusively mid-paced and droning and, I can’t honestly comprehend what the band members were thinking when they recorded the music on “Old Star”.