Genre: Death Metal/Instrumental
Country: Norway
Label: Peaceville Records
Year: 2023

I don’t believe that there’s anyone out there that forgot that Black Metal icons, Doom worshippers and defenders of Traditional Heavy Metal, Darkthrone, one of the most appreciated extreme bands of all time by both fans and the Press, started as a Death Metal act. For those few that may not even heard that fact let me inform them, so that the oldest ones also remember, that by the end of 1990 and the beginning of 1991, when the Norwegians were rehearsing the material that would eventually become Goatlord, Nocturno Culto, Zephyrous, and Fenriz embraced the Black Metal philosophy and lo-fi music architecture. Soon they decided to abort the ‘Goatlord’ sessions because the material didn’t reflect what they felt at the time no more, and started to compose the songs that were to be found on 1992’s cornerstone of a whole genre and scene ‘A Blaze in the Northern Sky’. Dag Nilsen was the only member who still wanted to play technical death metal, so he recorded the bass lines for ‘A Blaze in the Northern Sky’ and then left the band. Actually ‘Goatlord’, and more precise this certain version, is the album that would follow the death gem of 1991’s ‘Soulside Journey’. ‘Goatlord’ in its original form was a technical death/doom metal album loyal to its successor principles.  As the style followed very much in the vein of their debut, you can enjoy a raw mid-paced melodic, yet technical, death metal grimness. The sound is primitive that the added later vocal overdubs by Fenriz, done rather sloppy and without truly devotion as an act, (in 1994 Fenriz even added some chanting “female” ones using effects) to the existing instrumental recordings. The band then released it two years later, just after ‘Total Death’, making the 1996 edition via Moonfog Productions closer to a rough rehearsal recording than a proper album release. 27 years later there’s a ‘moral’ reward (for their honesty and far from fan-boy attidute) on those who claimed that this was their weakest moment (I personally don’t agree with it) and the new original instrumental version that is more solid and stronger than it, enriches this opinion. ‘Goatlord: Original’ that contains these cult tracks in their original instrumental form, captures the trve atmosphere, the dynamic, the passion and the rigor nature of the songs, as the young band featuring the classic line-up of Gylve ‘Fenris’ Nagell on drums, Ted Skjellum on lead guitar, Ivar Enger on rhythm guitar, and Dag Nilsen on bass, had in mind. The tracks are taken from Fenriz’s original tape source and transferred/mastered by Patrick Engel at Temple of Disharmony those who follow High Roller Records releases are familiar with Engel’s awesome work. The album also features a new more than awesome artwork by famous Polish artist and architect, best known in the musical realm for his record cover illustrations, which among others include meticulously handcrafted artworks of Watain, Ghost, Vader or Absu albums, Zbigniew Bielak (I still feel that the best artwork for Goatlord is the one and you can see on the 2011’s edition the one that was selected by the band after a public competition).

‘Goatlord: Original’ attributes a decade of songs with chaotic structure, progressive touches, mostly clean guitars and a ghastly aesthetic (and a demo recordings feeling), full of gruesome melodies in which Celtic Frost was obviously their main inspiration. The absence of the aforementioned added weird (and mixed louder) vocals and the new production makes the bass lines more audible while the punchy menacing drums also sound better and makes the whole planning more clearly to the listener. An essential offering, a brilliant collection of 10 primitive, melancholic, gloomy gems that create an intense twisted harsh album focused on atmosphere, that will satisfy open minded attenders as it is one of Darkthrone’s more interesting releases, not only for its historic weight or importance but also for the inherent quality of the material, now given in its proper raw greatness.

‘Goatlord: Original’ is set to drop February 10th via Peaceville Records.