Album Reviews, Artists / Bands, Metal / Hard Rock — October 22, 2012 at 10:53 am

Darkthrone – Hate Them


Artist Name: Darkthrone
Title Name: Hate Them (re-issue)
Label: Peaceville
Reviewed by: Fabio Marraccini

Probably the most controversial and sometimes misjudged music genre of all time, black metal had its origins in the ‘80s – or even the ‘70s – but it was certainly during the ‘90s that the genre consolidated around the world, but particularly in Norway.

The fact that many rather dwell in acts often associated with some of the prominent bands of that era such as church burnings and murders – obviously condemnable – obfuscates their biggest contribution to this Earth: their music. In those early years of what turned to be a good decade for underground metal but a bad decade for mainstream metal, acts such as Mayhem, Immortal, Burzum, Emperor and Darkthrone delivered some of their most seminal albums.

Hate Them is actually Darkthrone’s ninth full-length, released in 2003, and re-issued just now. It still bears the band’s signature black metal sound – as the band did change their musical direction later on. All of those remarkable features from their best days are there: the disturbing snarling and shriek-riddled vocals, the blast beats, the fear inducing off-key riffs and chord sequences, and the raw production – that in this album actually sounds a bit more polished sometimes.

The opening song ‘Rust’ is probably the best of the album, and represents very well the whole opus. But if one is still not convinced that this genre was not only influenced by metal, but also by hardcore, one should listen to ‘Det svartner nå’ (“It Darkens Now” in English)… and case closed! While the whole album is roughly at the same level, with no evident fillers, ‘Divided We Stand’ is another remarkable moment as it mixes the genre’s trademarks with lots of ‘80s metal influences – speed metal, Venom metal (yes, they were so unique and influential that maybe they deserve a genre of their own) and thrash metal.

The conclusion on this release, and more broadly for the genre as whole is as follows: if one wants to focus only on the controversy instead of the music, one might be missing out big time. It would the same as one looking at glam metal and focusing primarily on Mötley Crüe’s debauchery and scuffles with the law, or one researching traditional metal and only emphasizing the ridiculous lawsuits and accusations against Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest. But if one considers first and foremost the music being played, one will be in for a treat. A dark, heavy, disturbing, mind-blowing treat – but a treat nevertheless.




Darkthrone – Det Svartner Nå

 Darkthrone’s Hate Them is now available on iTunes.