Looking Back at Darkthrone’s ‘The Underground Resistance’.

(TheBRHM.com) So, Dartkthrone has another full-length album dropping in late April 2024. I’ve been going through the band’s late 2010s to present stuff—four albums since 2016—and there’s been a lot more re-listening to albums and songs than usual. I discovered Darkthrone’s 90s black metal era while they were in their metal-punk era in the 2000s.

Looking Back at Darkthrone’s ‘The Underground Resistance’.

Darkthrone in the 2000s

Once I got to their metal-punk albums, Darkthrone became one of my bands. The bands I keep in rotation whenever I listen to metal. This particular era of Darkthrone starting with either Hate Them or Sardonic Wrath—I tend to point to SW as the start—until The Underground Resistance in 2013 is my hands down favorite period of the band.

It’s just that familiar Darktrone guitar tone, pace and production with a different direction from what Nocturno Culto and Fenriz had been doing since the early 90s. I was with it because Immortal had also become a favorite in that time and I was enjoying their 90s stuff more than Darkthrone’s. Yet I love Darkthrone’s 2000s-2010s stuff more than Immortal and later Abbath in that same period.

This approach and sound just worked for me. I’ve checked out a lot of the inspirations on their sound from contemporaries to bands that came before them. This was during their speed metal, punk and NWOBHM-influenced period where you could read interviews with them.

Little did I know that the slower elements of their inspirations would come to define their late 2010s-present work.

The Underground Resistance: The Bridge Between Sounds

Released in 2013, The Underground Resistance was a release that featured more of an influence from 80s speed metal and New Wave of British Heavy Metal and I dug it. This was such a great blend of influences. The last three or four albums went from crust punk influences to speed metal and punk and now we have this mix—with Darkthone’s signature guitar sound and percussion pace.

It all sounds very much like Darkthrone playing something different but it was also the sign of a slide towards a slower-paced Darkthrone. On this album, we have Fenriz and Nocturno Culto still keeping the speed and power from Dark Thrones and Black Flags and Circle the Wagons but it’s better focused.

That isn’t to say that it took Darkthrone—who came about in 1987—until 2013 to really reign in the speed and fury. Again, this was them doing a different kind of project and honestly, Circle the Wagons was pretty much the prequel to The Underground Resistance.

The album comes in with six tracks and these songs are similar to there longer tracks on Circle the Wagons such as “Black Mountain Totem” and “I Am the Working Class.” However, the songs weren’t slower than those two, we just have an album of songs in that vein.

To Artic Thunder

Once the follow-up, 2016’s Artic Thunder came along, the band had polished the sound from The Underground Resistance to the point where they had several beefy, heavy songs on an album that kept things under 40 minutes.

I was impressed because I dig a short listen and I love a fast tempo. Seeing the track listing, I was interested in seeing how Darkthrone would pull it off after The Underground Resistance and how a few tracks on that album felt lengthy. It’s a different kind of lengthy compared to the tracks on their 2021 release Eternal Hails…

Needless to say, Artic Thunder delivered and in listening I could see how Darkthrone managed their tracklist magic time-wise. It’s a listen that comes off as shorter than it actually is. It’s not like Eternal Hails…where you’re aware that these songs are lengthy and the songs bleed into each other—only to be a 42-minute adventure, amazingly.

It’s different in that most of the songs don’t really bleed into each other. You know or can tell when the next song is starting. They can stand on their own whereas there are moments where Eternal Hails… feels like one or two long songs. Of course, that’s Darkthrone in their doom metal-inspired era. The albums will be a journey as Eternal Hails… was but they might not be an endless romp like F.O.A.D through The Underground Resistance.

Again, we have six tracks here but the three strongest tracks include “Valkyrie” which I thought was a great tune. It’s a direction I would’ve liked Darkthrone to take down the line. Another strong track was “The Ones You Leave Behind” which rocks but not as hard as “Leave No Cross Unturned.”

Now, “Leave No Cross Unturned” slammed and probably should’ve opened the album but “Dead Early” is a fine opener.

If you listened to The Underground Resistance, what were you favorite tracks? Did you enjoy this direction for Darkthrone? Are you looking forward to It Beckons Us All…? Let us know in the comments!

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.