Peaceville Records (2011)
So Peaceville continues its journey of re-releasing everything Darkthrone have released, this time "Ravishing Grimness". Originally released on Moonfog in 1999, it also includes a bonus disc with interview footage on the making of the album and new, gorgeous artwork.
Before this, I only had listened to "Sardonic Wrath" from Darkthrone's Moonfog era. When they released the classic "The Cult is Alive", I came back on board. Even though Darkthrone departed the shell of what Black Metal was supposed to sound like, they returned to their spiritual roots, eventually playing Heavy crust punk metal on their latest, 2010's "Circle the Wagons".
"Ravishing Grimness" proves that Darkthrone's Moonfog years really had been dark. After the first spin, these two lines from "Too old, too cold" (from "The Cult is Alive), went through my head: "You call your metal black, it's just spastic lame and weak". While I wouldn't say spastic, lame and weak apply. The album remains mid-tempo and features unsurprising riffing and song-structure. Calling it "Celtic Frost-inspired" doesn't change that fact. The compressed, clear and digitally polished production prevents any Grimness from Ravishing: I hate the late 90's, early 00's production where bass and treble is all one can hear. Where the fuck is the mid-range?
There are some hints of Darkthrone's beauty present though. At times, their great sense for (dis)harmony shines through, creating melancholic atmosphere. Nocturno's vocals remain solid, always a pleasure. Also, when playing in the background, the album doesn't become unnerving.
It is depressing to have to write this about a Darkthrone release, but if there is a Darkthrone album I can live without, it is "Ravishing Grimness" and if there is a Darkthrone era I can live without, it is the Moonfog era. It still gets 3 Imhotep-heads, since Darkthrone fans will get a fair amount of pleasure from it.
Composed by Lennard Bertram