|Classic Review: Darkthrone - Soulside Journey|
Label: Peaceville Records
Year released: 1990
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: January 3, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.32/5 (86.38%) (69 Votes)
This was Darkthrone's debut, their much-discussed and oft-reviled Death Metal album made before they decided to strap on the corpsepaint. This was released in 1990, in the very midst of the Death Metal boom, and while it is a good album, it doesn't really stand out from the crowd.
If this were not Darkthrone it would probably be completely forgotten, not because it's no good, but just because it sounds like a dozen other albums released in the flood of DM albums in 1988-1990. This is a good CD, but back then there were so many damned Scandinavian Death bands that nobody could keep track of them all. Actually the difference between this CD and the following "Blaze In The Northern Sky" is illustrative of the differences between Death and Black Metal, as the riff style and songwriting is not really any different. If you played this album with a 'bathroom' production job and raspy rather than guttural vocals, it would sound pretty much just like Darkthrone's later works. The guitar sound on this CD is pure Entombed – which since some mysterious person called "Uffe" is listed as the guitar co-producer is hardly a shock. The booklet doesn't say, but I'd bet this was recorded at Sunlight right about when Entombed were laying down "Clandestine" and Uffe stopped in to give his secrets for a buzzsaw guitar sound. So mostly "Soulside Journey" sounds like a not-quite-as-good Entombed, which is no bad thing really.
This is an enjoyable CD, but I can never shake the feeling that Darkthrone were just jumping the trend of the moment, and when they saw the BM tide rising they jumped that one, and they've been able to milk it ever since. If you're asking if I'm calling Darkthrone posers, well I suppose I am at that. But still, "Soulside Journey" is better than the bulk of the albums it shared shelf space with back in the day.
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