Darkthrone’s 21st studio album, It Beckons Us All, dropped on April 26, courtesy of England’s esteemed Peaceville Records. This seven-song offering is instantly recognizable as the work of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto, yet it also demonstrates the duo’s ever-present need to explore new territories. Formed in 1986, Darkthrone are not only an indescribably important pioneering act, but they are furthermore responsible for coining the term “True Norwegian Black Metal.”That said, Fenriz has actually referred to Darkthrone’s third album, Under a Funeral Moon (1993), as the band’s sole pure black metal effort. Darkthrone famously broke away from the black metal sound that they helped build long ago, preferring instead to dig further backwards into the roots of metal and rock. Thus, It Beckons Us All includes a blend of a variety of styles, though it can probably only be described as metal as seen through the nostalgic eyes of Nocturno Culto and Fenriz.

The opening track, “Howling Primitive Colonies,” begins with a synth intro from outer space, reminiscent of whimsical sounds used by Darkthrone in the past, before quickly knocking us down to earth with its wicked groove. Nocturno’s authoritative, raspy, low vocals then enter the picture. On the album, vocal duties are shared by him and Fenriz. Just as the clean guitars add a nice touch, the latter’s epic clean vocals and often bombastic tone certainly contribute to the element of fun. His voice often soars like a spear aimed at the hearts of lovers of modern metal. As implied above, both Fenriz and Nocturno have been “Raised On Rock,” and are thus notoriously great despisers of the trendy, plastic, and contrived. Therefore, it’s no surprise that we hear influences from the ’70s and ’80s on It Beckons Us All. Nevertheless, ’90s black metal feeling still pervades. The result is aggressive and in a certain sense straight-forward but also acid-splashed, unpredictable, and, again, playful.

Both Fenriz and Nocturno exude veteran confidence throughout It Beckons Us All. The album boasts menacing riffs and crushing heaviness. As always, Fenriz grounds the offering with his excellence on drums. It is worth noting that the fourth composition, “And in the Moment I Knew the Answer,” serves as an especially beautiful voyage. This instrumental piece highlights the outfit’s ability to bewitch listeners. The ten-plus-minute “The Lone Pines of the Lost Planet,” with its long instrumental opening and sounds of cleansing water, ends the record on a note of unquestionable individualism. Two albums ago, on Eternal Hails…… (2021), Darkthrone concluded their tracklist with a similar theme on “Lost Arcane City of Uppåkra.” Along similar lines, the title of It Beckons on Us All’s second song, “Eon 3,” forces us to remember Darkthrone’s history — “Eon” is an instrumental number from the demo Thulcandra (1989) and Darkthrone’s debut album, Soulside Journey (1991), while “Eon 2” appears on Astral Fortress (2022) and bears lyrical similarities — yes, the texts to It Beckons Us All often remind us of lyrics from other Darkthrone albums.

Like Astral Fortress and Eternal Hails……, It Beckons Us All was tracked at Oslo’s Chaka Khan Studio. It was recorded live. Since, guests aside, Darkthrone has only had two hands since Zephyrous dropped out of the picture, in this case, that means that drums and guitars were done together. Another guitar, bass, and so forth were added later. The live feel definitely comes across. The production is raw and organic, as Darkthrone fans would expect. It Beckons Us All will not leave the band’s followers disappointed. Rather, this album boasts a palette of otherworldly atmospheres that will engulf listeners like quicksand.

Darkthrone’s It Beckons Us All is available to order at this location.