Along with Burzum’s “Belus”, “Circle The Wagons” provide a glimpse into what happens to black metal musicians when they grow up. Apparently, in case of Darkthrone the answer is that they just dig deeper into their old punk and metal records…
The band’s previous effort (“Dark Thrones And Black Flags”) demonstrated that they were moving away from raw black metal template set on albums like “Transylvanian Hunger” and “Panzerfaust”. “Wagons” is a further demonstration of Nocturno Culto and Fenriz growing interest in punk and rock’roll, as it contains plenty of elements of both genres (and a little of black metal atmosphere of old).
In general, “Wagons” reminds me very strongly of bands like Entombed / Motorhead (yet others brought up Venom as a point of comparison) with its blend of punk, rock’n’roll and metal (or “black’n’roll”, as one of the reviewers called it).
While there are some catchy moments on this record, in general it also comes off as slightly silly (especially due to clean vocals which are acceptable, but nothing to write home about). Still, kudos to Darkhrone for at least trying out some new things instead of sticking to tried and true formula.