posted on 5/2008 By:
Hey, who likes the last two Darkthrone albums? You say, "I do." Okay, then you'll like IXXI. It's (almost) as simple as that.
IXXI are a solid combination of later Darkthrone and Carpathian Forest with some groovy elements. There's not much else I can do to describe it. There's lots of diabolical laughter, lots. While I'm not against it when used in good taste (Immortal), I could do without the "come on motherfuckers" in "Armageddon Nobility." There's a thick coat of gritty Norwegian black metal cheese to be found here. Which is funny as Assorted Armament was released on The Ajna Offensive which prides itself on releases from more intellectual neo-folk and industrial groups, but I digress. Stylistic fallacy aside, Assorted Armament is actually reasonably good.
There are NO blast beats here. NONE. Just down-strummed Darkthrone riffs over four on the floor rhythms a la 70s Motorhead. While Darkthrone themselves continue to tinker with this style, IXXI manages to keep the stagnant tempo interesting by incorporating breakdowns (nothing core about them) and some very atmospheric moments. Both are well-placed to positively effect the flow of the music here.
The production on Assorted Armament is spot on; gritty and kvlt but also audible at normal stereo volume. The bass is minimal and the guitars are thin and shrill but very clear. The vocals, while stock black metal vocals, are effective. The music is complimented despite the occassional "diabolical laughter", which provides a bit of humor of nothing else. Something this genre could afford to incorporate once in awhile.
While I could give a track by track description here, there's really no point. The same aesthetic is conveyed throughout. There are tracks like "In the Name of Nothing" that are more experimental and atmospheric, in a Burzum sense. While "An Epoch Most Cursed" is a little tribute to Mayhem's criminally misunderstood/rated Grand Declaration of War, sans electronic drums and good production.
IXXI provide something refreshing in a genre that is, right now anyway, refreshing enough. They don't stimulate or bludgeon your brain like Deathspell Omega, but offer something a little more familiar. With that said, IXXI put their own spin on a style of metal that is beyond plagiarized. I preach it a lot, and am endlessly resented for it, but good songwriting over solid tempos will prevail over speed and technicality 9 out of 10 times and that's a lot of what I like about IXXI. I understand these guys just signed to Candlelight so we'll see if they can follow up Assorted Armament with more "diabolical laughter" and down strummed riff-y goodness (or black ness). Enjoy.
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