Darkthrone ‎– Frostland Tapes 2-CD


Finally, a compilation that is worth buying – from Peaceville, of all labels! What we have here is all of Darkthrone’s demo output, with the added bonus of a mildly messy live recording, a couple of forgotten studio pieces and, as a surprise move, the whole Goatlord session in its instrumental form – that is, without ANY of the infamous “female vocals” so many of us have come to love or hate. A good amount of material is packed in a sturdy hard-covered book that should at least weather a few stray drops of beer at your local underground party. The innards of the beast contain a booklet with some intriguing bits of history from the 1988-91 days, as well as a large photo of the lads at their cuddliest (true babyfaces, the lot of them!). Overall, the chosen content pleases me; apart from the generic cover picture, I find things to be in order here. 

Nothing important is omitted, so we turn to ponder whether the sound has been mangled, polished or otherwise brutalized; the answer is a resounding no. The first demo is as hissy as it ever was, and the rest does not reek of later editing either. That primitive punch of the original recordings is still there in all its unholy glory. There are a couple of semi-produced studio tracks that are remarkably cleaner than the demo material, yet even they are quite far from the Sunlight sound of Soulside Journey. As for the live bits recorded in Denmark, they are noisy and obscure, just about the quality of a decent bootleg; not worth paying for on their own but a welcome bonus on a compilation such as this. Additionally, they make me chuckle, too, as Nocturno Culto introduces songs with coyness in his voice: “You’re a nice crowd, really.” “We might fuck this up but who cares.” Humble!

The Goatlord session, well well… upon hearing the vocalized version, I made a vow to not buy the album, yet here we are! Thank all manner of deities that the worst irritant is gone; no more vocals. I do still find the album a tad too randomly collated slide show of riffs, but I am certain that many others will utterly love it without the throatwork. 

Did you ever think of buying Preparing for War to get a hold of the old death metal material? I certainly hope not; there is far more worth for your money here, and more importantly, nothing useless has been added. Who would want to buy a compilation with clichés like Transilvanian Hunger on it just to have an incomplete collection of demo songs and rarities? Beats me; in any case, get this if the band’s death metal phase is at all dear to you.