At this stage in the Darkthrone game, it matters little what you, I or anyone else think of the band. And that’s perfectly OK, because I for one certainly don’t think they owe us anything other than to keep on keeping on however they deem to be right for the band’s legacy for the band moving forward.

That doesn’t mean I actually have to like what they put out, of course, and the days of Circle The Wagons are sadly now, for this writer, just a fading twinkle in the mind’s ear… But that said, I’d like the band to at least sound a little more energised and excited by what they are putting out. There are more than a few moments on IBUA that just sound a little bored, especially after the Coffin Storm album’s emergence a little while back which featured a perky performance from Fenriz behind the mic.

Still, when they get in the mood they still have the power to move – there are moments of genuine heavy metal thunder to be found in The Bird People of Nordland and the grindingly efficient The Heavy Hand; The latter especially is the sound of latter day Darkthrone operating at full force, whilst if you like the band’s proggier bent then closing track The Lone Pines of the Lost Planet should probably be the first thing you investigate on the album.

But three good ‘uns and a few other flashes of inspiration aside, the seven tracks that comprise It Beckons Us All aren’t really going to set a fire to too many of this venerable institution’s legion of fans this time around. If there was one thing we all loved about this band back in the day, it was that they were never easy, either as a listening proposition or in terms of knowing where they were going to head next – and that just isn’t the case in 2024…

It Beckons Us All is out now.