Hate Them reviews
ConorFynes on February 23rd, 2016
The same as before, but angrier.
Darkthrone's career has had its ups and downs, but I can't help but respect them for doing whatever the hell they wanted, when they wanted to do it. Even having been established as legends, there's a DIY-approach to their music that's extended to everything they've done to the present day. They're nothing if not sincere about what they do, which is why I found it surprising they were even capable of releasing less-than-solid work. While Total Death still stands as the band's most lackadaisical work, I felt the same lacking inspiration on 2001's Plaguewielder. All of the ingredients for good black metal were onboard, but it didn't come together in a way that felt transgressive or dangerous. Luckily they fixed that issue on Hate Them.
By 2003, the "unholy trilogy" was already a decade behind Darkthrone, so an album in that same style could only be so scary or striking. I don't think Nocturno Culto and Fenriz had any illusions that they were continuing to push boundaries with their music at this point, but the timeless threads they're plucking on here only need passion to feel relevant. Part of why Hate Them sounds so damned angry is probably because of its improvement over Plaguewielder. Unlike Ravishing Grimness, this one didn't produce any classic riffs or songs for the Darkthrone pantheon, but it's one of the angriest-sounding records they ever did. Considering Hate Them was recorded and released in the band's third decade of existing, that's not the sort of feat that should go unnoticed.
The riffs on Hate Them are definitely slower than its predecessor, although songs like "Ytterst I Livet" and "Divided We Stand" offer a more quintessentially Norwegian sound of black metal. Although Darkthrone wouldn't make the total shift until The Cult is Alive two albums later, there's definitely a punkish vibe to the band's performance. I don't think they were trying to revive the success and style they had with the trilogy (although Sardonic Wrath would come much closer in this respect) but they were certainly aiming for the youthful, aggressive mentality that the few albums before this one seemed to lack. It's their impulse to stay naive and excited about their music that makes Darkthrone's post-golden era worthwhile.
The blunt anger of "Fucked Up and Ready to Die", and the Nordic-come-punk fusion of "Ytterst I Livet" and "Divided We Stand" strike me as standouts on the album. Although the songwriting's kept more interesting than it ever was on Plaguewielder, I wouldn't say Darkthrone really shake me with their writing this time around. Barring those well-penned highlights, the songs fall into a fairly predictable riff machine that doesn't help nor hinder enjoyment. Really, if you're going to be getting into Hate Them, it's the way Darkthrone plays their material that make the whole thing worth it. The drums and guitar sound beefier than they ever had before, and Nocturno Culto's vocals are some of the best in Darkthrone's entire discography. I prefer Ravishing Grimness for the songwriting, and Sardonic Wrath for the cold atmosphere and production, but Hate Them is competent, reliable, and every bit as wrathful as you'd come to expect from a band that once had the world in their grip.
Voidhanger2 on January 6th, 2016
An Impressive Return to Form
The late nineties were a rocky era for Darkthrone. Armed with their newly-found reputation as "the most evil band in the world," they flirted with greater commercial appeal - hastily finishing and releasing the unearthed Goatlord, the "star power" of Total Death's lyrics, advertising their polished production for Ravishing Grimness, and an uncharacteristically colourful cover for the clean-sounding Plaguewielder. While none of these albums were singularly bad, they lacked the urgency of the classics that preceded them. Hate Them and the subsequent Sardonic Wrath formed an unexpected mid-career duology of vitality prior to taking a slight step down with The Cult is Alive. Of course, they then began a string of self-parodying albums that, in the interest of legacy preservation, would perhaps have been best suited for release under a different moniker, but I digress.
Hate Them brims with rejuvenated spontaneity and intensity. The songs are stylistically similar to those found on Ravishing Grimness and incorporate the crust sound that they would use ad nauseam in later albums in tasteful and unobtrusive doses. Fenriz’s drumming is powerful and confident with an hint of intentional sloppiness. Nocturno Culto’s vocals reverberate with a revitalized ferocity, especially compared to the relatively weak performance on Plaguewielder. The guitars wield a gritty edge with an appropriately lackluster sound, but retain sufficient clarity to allow the riffs to flow unobstructed. All these elements come together in a powerful, cohesive whole that allows the album to successfully forge its own sound of mechanized nihilism.
Hate Them is Darkthrone at an interstitial stage in their discography; they had found a renewed passion but still took their style seriously enough to hold off the abrupt and goofy change in direction they were to take several albums later on F.O.A.D. They thus turned to what they did best with this revitalization and yielded impressive results.
Felix%201666 on October 31st, 2015
Black metal is the devil's fuel
It is commonly agreed that "Hate Them", the tenth regular studio album of the Norwegian duo, does not belong to its most impressive works. What is even worse, it can be easily overlooked in view of the nearly unmanageable discography of the Scandinavian metal trolls. But ignoring this album would be a pity, because it is definitely not weaker than some of its predecessors. After their mediocre death metal debut, the mind-boggling black metal reference works and the intermezzo with the heterogeneously produced "Total Death" and the incredibly shitty "Goatlord", Darkthrone had begun a new era with "Ravishing Grimness". This album was the first that featured fairly complex, long songs. They combined many elements of extreme metal without delivering generic black, death or thrash metal. "Plaguewielder" confirmed the approach of "Ravishing Grimness" and the here presented album made the trilogy complete.
Although the songs are a little bit shorter than on the two foregoing outputs, they are in accordance with the fundamental orientation of the aforementioned full-lengths. Based on a solid fundament, the tunes rely on strong riffs and resilient lines that prevent any touch of boredom. They are neither overloaded nor progressive, yet they do not lack of breaks and tempo variations which guarantee the necessary variety. The patterns of the individual songs do not differ in a substantial manner. Nevertheless, the majority of the tracks possesses at least a minimum of more or less unique features. For example, "Striving for a Piece of Lucifer" has an excellently flowing guitar line, the remorseless guitar work of "Rust" grows menacingly and "In Honour of Thy Name" combines staccato riffing with a profound, slow-moving middle part. Moreover, these songs deliver cold, edgy riffs and rather insane drumming. Despite their generous playtime, they avoid lame sections with great ease.
"Black metal is the devil's fuel" is an excerpt of the closer's lyrics. Yet it remains an open question whether the here gathered songs represent this sub genre. Let's have a look on typical black metal works in order to compare them with "Hate Them". Darkthrone's output has not much to do with the unholy intensity of "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas". Unlike "In the Nightside Eclipse", the work of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto does not combine weird melodies with a nightly aura. Finally, the rage of "Pure Holocaust" remains untouched. Therefore, I tend to say that "Hate Them" only reaches the outskirts of black metal. The songs score with violence and sleaziness, but the typical black metal aura remains absent. That is the reason why I would like to speak of a blackened thrash album. Furthermore, it seems as if Darkthrone appreciate the rawness and the rebelliousness of the punk movement. Anyway, thrash is dominating, inter alia because the production puts the focus on harshness while almost neglecting the creation of a diabolic aura. Nevertheless, the grim nagging and the piercing guitars transmit the feeling of discomfort.
"Hate Them" is a very good album, but it cannot offer legendary background stories. There is only one exception. At the time of its release, Fenriz said that its title refers to King Diamond's "Them". He did not get tired to point out that he did not like this album since its publication. Therefore, he preached that Darkthrone's album title should be understood as an invitation to hate "Them". I guess this kind of humour was the blackest element of the here presented full-length.
flightoficarus86 on January 9th, 2015
Best Post-Trilogy Album
The Unholy Trilogy. It’s pretty untouchable. There is nary a black metal fan who would argue that any other album in Darkthrone’s discography can bump them from the top 3; and they would be right. However, I would argue that of all of the albums that came after, Hate Them is the one that comes closest to in quality and sits comfortably at #4.
A little aside, those familiar with the often hilarious commentaries that have been released with the majority of the DT catalog at this point are familiar with Fenriz’s own opinions of the albums (or “parts of songs” as he would put it). I’ve never seen Fenriz definitively rank his albums, and he doesn’t seem like the type who would. Even so, having heard all of the commentaries, Fenriz speaks the most highly of this one. Some may be surprised to hear that he spends the majority of even A Blaze in the Northern Sky talking about what terrible black/death melding shit it is. I think Fenriz himself might rank this in his top three, but I digress.
The fact is, Hate Them is a solid album. I think it gets a bad rap given its position smack dab in the middle of their post-trilogy discography, sandwiched between the unfortunate Plaguewielder and meh Sardonic Wrath. But taken out of context, there is a lot to like here. For one, the mix strikes a nice balance. It lacks the icy cold feel of its predecessors, but makes up for it with its grittiness and the levelness of the instruments.
Vocals are grim and powerful, but not grating as on Panzerfaust. The guitar manages a nice melding of the old with a more punk style. If you took the riffs from Under a Funeral Moon and Transylvanian Hunger, put them in a blender with some caffeine and testosterone, you’d get the Hate Them sound. A back to back listen with Celtic Frost’s To Mega Therion further illustrates the full circle that has happened here. Finally, the drums are just excellent. There is so much energy. While Blaze is my favorite album for the drums, Fenriz’s position against “fancy pants” drumming has left him favoring a more minimalist approach. That said, this is the most he has sounded like he has cared since that first album. Just listen to “Striving for a Piece of Lucifer.” That is the kit work of someone who is having a blast; and how the beats gel with the really cool riffs doesn’t hurt either.
Some might argue that the punk influence is a bad thing for black metal, or that this is too black n’ roll. But I challenge you to listen to early Mayhem, Bathory, or Venom and tell me to my face that there is not a shred of punk on those albums. Nocturno and Fenriz could have easily performed this music as kids in the 90’s and I doubt anyone would have cried foul. “In Honour of Thy Name,” aside from also sporting excellent guitar and drums, has a vocal delivery that sounds straight off of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.
Another standout track is the opener, “Rust.” My God. That simple, yet effective riff with those deliberately plodding drums is absolutely imposing. Midway, Fenriz even conjures up the ol’ blastbeat: something he normally avoids as a rule due to over-saturation in the genre. But here, it seems serendipitous. The various fills sprinkled in make it far more interesting than most of the blueprint black metal being pumped out today. And the riffs all just feel so evocative.
I could go on, but I’ll let the album speak for itself. I highly recommend listening to this album if you are a fan of Darkthrone or the other bands I have mentioned. If you heard this before and didn’t give it the time of day, I encourage you to give it another go while considering the points I have made and doing your best to put bias aside.
U472439 on September 20th, 2014
Hate Them was Darkthrone's return from the murky late-90s/early 00s, and albums like Ravishing Grimness and Plaguewielder. More to the point, it was Fenriz's return from a prolonged bout of depression and delving into psychedelics (not to mention handing over most of Darkthrone's songwriting duties to Nocturno Culto), and anyone sufficiently into Darkthrone's (now) back catalog will notice a brighter, more aggressive touch to this record compared with its predecessors.
It's not that Hate Them is a masterpiece. As with most Darkthrone records after their classic Black Metal trilogy of the early 90s, its spiritual roots are in a record like 1995's Panzerfaust, mixing BM, punkish, booze-y Motorhead rock and roll, and Celtic Frost/Hellhammer-styled jams into a kind of all-purpose Darkthrone headbang-stew. BM purists will likely think the record is a letdown, and in terms of how it relates to, say, Under A Funeral Moon or Transylvanian Hunger, it is. It's NOT a *scary* record, but rather an aggressive, angry, no-frills one. It sounds amazing -- clear, heavy, cutting guitar sound and great vocals. And, except for Sardonic Wrath (which came immediately after it), Hate Them doesn't really sound like much else in the band's catalog. In songwriting terms, it's more Black Metal-styled than most of what they did afterwards, though nowhere near as enigmatic/lo-fi/atmospheric as their classic trilogy.
My favorite tracks are "Fucked Up And Ready to Die" (check the awesome tritone riff accompanied by 12/8 blastbeat), "Divided We Stand" (NWOBHM tempo, thrash-y riffing and VERY un-BM power chords in the break) and the opener "Rust". Once you get past its lengthy intro, you get a minor-key riff-sludge and slow, ultra-simple drumming. Normally, that's not necessarily what you want from Darkthrone, but to lead off what is essentially their 00s "rebirth" record, it's a great warning that this band follows its own path, no matter the cost. (Which, in all honesty, doesn't seem to be much except the occasional BM "purist" calling them out on a messageboard somewhere.)
I think Hate Them is about equal in quality to its follow-up Sardonic Wrath, but not as good as something like Panzerfaust. It's a "mature" Darkthrone record, from arguably their last era that could be described as "black metal". However, it's also the first one that really shows the band breaking beyond their (well-earned) reputation as BM pioneers.
hells_unicorn on April 11th, 2010
Not dead anymore, but still a little fucked up.
A couple of years into Darkthrone’s early 2000s era of flirting with punk sensibilities, but largely avoiding making up their minds on what they want to sound like, the somewhat bland and by-the-numbers release otherwise known as “Hate Them” came into being. Unlike its very confused and awkward predecessor “Plaguewielder”, there is definitely an intelligible direction at play here, although it is replete with stops and starts. Fenriz and Nocturno seem to know where they want to go at this point, but their songwriting seems a few steps behind them, unwilling to fully commit to the more basic and less blackened approach that is rearing its head.
For the most part, things are kept relatively simple, as Nocturno maintains a riffs alone approach to songwriting that has little of the intrigue or flash of the early years. Most of the songs contained within are built off of 4 specific ideas, alternating between the straight power chord drive common to many hard core bands, and the hypnotic, hazy sound that the style borrowed from various ambient and new wave bands. Some such as “Ytterst I Livet” and “Det Svartner Nå” seek to bring back elements of “Transylvanian Hunger” or “Panzerfaust” and merge them with the warmer, frost free production quality that the band has maintained since “Ravishing Grimness”, but lack the unique melodic contours and distinctive hooks to really carry themselves well. “Divided We Stand” and “Fucked Up And Ready To Die” work in the heavy, death metal influenced tremolo riffs brought in from the early 90s and work a bit better with Culto’s guttural mutterings, but struggle a little to get going due to being too simple for their own good.
The places where “Hate Them” actually starts to work well are when the aforementioned influences are scaled back and the band keeps to the punk elements. “Striving For A Piece Of Lucifer” is the best example, and is primarily based on upper tempo Thrashing beats and plain strummed guitar lines, but the resulting groove that is established is far better suited to the raw, heavy character of the album. There is a healthy amount of variation, but there is an enduring theme that pervades the entire song’s duration and keeps things consistent. “Rust” and “In Honour Of Thy Name” present similar stories musically, but are frontloaded with heavily repetitive intros that come off as overlong and somewhat unnecessary. The ambient parts contained in both sound a bit out of place, and probably would have been better suited on “Total Death”, where the band was still sticking to creepier and darker songs that called for some parallel horror movie soundtrack material to use as detailing.
Although a definite improvement from “Plaguewielder”, this is guaranteed to leave most fans of either black metal or even black punk music wanting. There are enough good moments on here to qualify this as bargain bin treasure, but there is nothing that really terrifies or otherwise entertains the way Darkthrone albums are normally expected to. You might not catchy yourself falling asleep to it in the middle of the afternoon, but it definitely will not demand weekly, or even monthly worship sessions at the church of metal.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on April 11, 2010.
autothrall on January 28th, 2010
No time for scars now
After the lukewarm reception for their previous album, something must have crawled up this duo's collective sphincter and died, leaving some residual cancer of the spirit, because Hate Them is the most fucked up and evil record the band had released since in about a decade, with a harsh, no frills production. This is the Darkthrone of the battlefield, black and white, unholy warfare captured on a still and dripping with vile humours and callous intentions, hostile enough the peel the fresh paint job off your ride and transform your life from sunshine to entropic despair. The lyrics here are seriously excellent, you can just feel the frustration that must have gone into writing them, and it translates perfectly into the rugged, hostility of the compositions.
"Rust" opens with a minimal, ambient noise segment composed by Lrz, pulsing like a blackened quasar before the guitar chords ring out and bend northward, slowing stammering into position like a phalanx of undead, decaying soldiers in WWII uniforms. The band slowly maintains this march, hammering along with a steady drum that constantly hovers over the edge of some forward momentum, which finally arrives at 3:00 minutes into the song, but only at a marginal uptempo from the previous section. "Det Svartner Nå (It Darkens Now)" is blood curdling, disgusting black with the band's usual Hellhammer meets punk rock influence, a sequence of chords that a two year old chimpanzee could pick up and play, and yet it lacks no wealth of diabolism, a tangibly gut wrenching atmosphere. If neanderthals figured out how to play black metal many thousands of years ago, it might have sounded like this.
"Fucked Up and Ready to Die" picks up the pace considerably, the fastest track on this early half of the record, with a huge death metal tone to the grinding axe rhythm and drums that charge every so slightly beneath its surface, a greatly grooving bridge, and then a segment that lapses into a monolithic, tortured doom, phenomenal with Nocturno's vocals like a monk who has just renounced his vows to finally discover Satan. "Ytterst I Livet (On the Edge of Life)" is a plodding, suicidal anthem which reeks of droning noise rock ala the Melvins, swerving into a dense barrage of twisted, depressive chords and rumbling blastwork. "Divided We Stand" is one of the best tracks here, ranging from the spikes and leather death of its opening riffs to a swelling, dank fueled punk and pumping breakdown with enough girth to fill any glory hole.
"Striving for a Piece of Lucifer" is a cool, bruising tune packed with atmosphere, and a coy lyrical awareness that reveals the roots of Darkthrone's shift into the self-effacing scene-busting entity that they will become on albums like F.O.A.D. and the masterful Dark Thrones and Black Flags. 'Let's see who stands when the smoke clears', indeed! "In Honour of Thy Name" is notable for having some of my favorite lyrics in the band's entire history, taking the pseudo-condemnation of the previous track up a notch and telling you what's what. Poseurs leave the fucking hall, please. As for the riffs, they're bouncy and punkish until the expectant breakdown into total Hellhammer rocking, right beneath some of the best lines in the song!
'Black Metal is the devil's fuel
Ram painted abattoirs
Hail the new born king
and join the fuckin dead'
Half-horrified that the band might dip below their career low of Plaguewielder, I was extremely relieved by just how refreshing this album was. As they would and will do so many times through their history, it represents yet another small re-invention of their sound, drawing on the roots of their early 90s albums like A Blaze in the Northern Sky and Under a Funeral Moon but placing the murk and miasma into a new context, this one even more grim than the last. Hate Them is just another in a long line of mandatory Darkthrone recordings that I would highly advise you to purchase, unless of course you suck. Not at life, though, because these albums were written specifically for those of us who do suck at life.
Highlights: turn them off. It's better to cry in the dark.
Noctir on September 25th, 2009
Hate Them is the tenth studio album from Darkthrone. Recorded and mixed at Pan lydstudio in 26 hours, during December 2002, it was released in March 2003 on Moonfog Records. This album marks the return to a more stripped-down sound, compared to Total Death, Ravishing Grimness or Plaguewielder, the latter being filled with several good ideas but being quite underrated due to the colorful artwork and the higher quality production. Hate Them can be seen as a bit of regression, back to a more raw and primitive sound. There was also a conscious effort to distance themselves from some of the criticisms received for the cover art of the previous album. All of their energy was well spent as the created the most raw and old school album since 1995's Panzerfaust. It's a shame that this wasn't released in 1996, as it seemed the simply went through the motions since then, with a few exceptions.
I was eagerly awaiting the release of this album, as I was still in an optimistic phase where I continually expected some bands to return to their previous glory. In this case, I wasn't too disappointed. I didn't get exactly what I wanted, but it was enjoyable in a different way. I picked this up, a few months later, at a record store in Stockholm. I'd already heard "Striving For A Piece of Lucifer", on my friend's rado program, so I was somewhat aware of what I was getting into. At that point, I was just satisfied to get another slab of ugly, primitive Black Metal from Darkthrone.
The album begins with a fairly useless intro, which doesn't really add anything to the song. "Rust" finally starts almost a minute in. From the first moments, a deadly cold atmosphere overtakes you. The dissonant open-arpeggio riffs create a desolate aura that is primitive and grim. As the drums kick in, the song moves along at a slow pace, with the raw guitars providing the background for Nocturno Culto's hateful and misanthropic vocals. This feeling isn't very far from that present on Under A Funeral Moon, in a sense. As the song progresses, it gradually picks up speed. A little past the half-way point, the trademark Darkthrone sound is unleashed, complete with tremolo riffs and pounding drums. Trash the worthless intro and alter the weak lyrics to match those of the old days, and this wouldn't have been too out of place on A Blaze in the Northern Sky. It's certainly one of the strongest songs on here, and a good way to start out the album.
"Det Svartner Nå" bears more of an up-beat tempo, returning to the Hellhammer / Celtic Frost style that they so often pay tribute to. It's not as bad here as on Ravishing Grimness, thanks to the more primitive production. However, that doesn't mean that it's especially interesting. It's not bad, but it doesn't stand out too much, either.
The next song is "Fucked Up and Ready To Die". It's the shortest track on the album, but definitely one of the most memorable. It begins with the fast-paced drums and tremolo riffs, sounding like a typical Darkthrone song. It utilizes a variety of tempos, going from fast to mid-paced and then slowing down even more, giving on a morbid and hateful feeling. Things speed up again, before the end, and Nocturno Culto's vocals really convey a sense of hatred for life.
"Death just takes a moment
Suffering is forever"
"Ytterst I Livet" is one of two songs with a Norwegian title, though it's the only song to have absolutely no English lyrics at all. It's fairly mid-paced and uneventful. It speeds up, later on, but the song is still kind of average. This, by no means, should be taken as an indication that it's bad; it's simply not one of the songs that jumps out at me. It's still a decent song, quite superior to most of what they'd release on subsequent albums.
This is followed by "Divided We Stand". At this point, it's probably evident that Fenriz has long since lost his ability to write the Satanic poetry of the past. his style is interesting, at times, but it can also be tiresome. Musically, the song features a nice tremolo riff and has a little more energy than the previous song. The first minute is rather fast-paced (for this album), but it soon slows down. The tempo continues to alternate throughout, as this is quite a dynamic song. There are some interesting (almost mournful) melodies to be found here and, while it's not the greatest song on the record, it's very solid.
"Striving For A Piece of Lucifer" was the first song that I heard from this album, and it remains my favourite one. I erupts with a catchy riff and some double bass, thundering underneath it. The riffing style is interesting and quite different from a lot of their earlier work. Either way, it's memorable and it works. It does contain more of a blackened rock feeling, rather than pure Black Metal, but it's ugly and primitive-sounding. That's the important thing, by this point. The latter half of the song actually seems more in line with the older style of Darkthrone, to be honest.
"Some tombs will never be silent"
The album concludes with "In Honour of Thy Name", which starts out with something more akin to the classic sound of old. This is mixed in with the catchier, almost punk-like sections. I guess that's fitting, as this album was kind of the beginning of the more recent stage of their career. There's also an old school Celtic Frost riff thrown in, for good measure. It serves to slow things down, briefly, and adds a darker feel to the track. The song speeds up again, before giving way to a pointless outro that is similar to the intro of the album. It's definitely got nothing on the intro/outro used on A Blaze in the Northern Sky, or even the intro from Plaguewielder, for that matter.
"Join the dead"
Hate Them isn't a return to the classic era of Darkthrone. That is something that everyone will have to realize is never going to happen. However, it is a point of regression that takes them back to a more primitive sound and it ushered in the modern era of Darkthrone. While two of the songs are rather mediocre, the rest are actually pretty good so long as you're not expecting to hear the second coming of Transilvanian Hunger. If you open your mind and accept it for what it is ( a bloody solid, old school-sounding record) then you'll certainly get your money's worth.
Perplexed_Sjel on November 1st, 2007
Fucked Up And Already Dead.
Is strange how apt Darkthrone's lyrics are in terms of public perception on them these days. Here's an example of what I mean:
"Hate at first sight". A feeling most people tend to feel before hearing the latest Darkthrone full-length. Over time Darkthrone have lost more than their talent. They've lost their appeal and fanbase. There are some who continue to stay in the hope that they'll eventually give up on this new approach and just head back to the good old days of misanthropic black metal which would easily beat any other record to a pulp with it's mammoth repetition, dark atmospheric nature and unrelenting style. Alas, no. Hate Them is another disappointing Darkthrone full-length, but is by no means the worst.
"Death just takes a moment
Suffering is forever". This much is true when it comes to Darkthrone. The death of this one legendary band came in an instant, whereas the suffering of having to endure one after the other of new lifeless Darkthrone full-lengths still continues to this very day. Darkthrone's style of Hate Them is very laboured and weary. It's simply unable to stand up to the challenge of modern day black metal. Whilst the genre has continued to grow, with new sub-genres emerging regularly, Darkthrone's essence is stuck in the past. Unable to unlock the talent which this band once had, Hate Them lacks the drive and passion we once saw on earlier records.
"Let's leave this sinking ship together". Perhaps a metaphor for the band's global image nowadays. It's steadily sinking, just as a ship would do. Every element of Darkthrone has become progressively worse. Progression backwards is quite some feat. The poor vocals, which simply irritate and become tedious very quickly. They add no atmosphere, they simple exist. The nothing riffs which will ultimately fail to be remembered with kindness. Percussion wise, this is again poor. Uninspired blast beats are placed in the mix quite often, in order to fill the void. There's no spark or creativity, it's dull, dreary and lifeless. Lyrically, Darkthrone have just become poorer and poorer. None of the old misanthropic aggression remains.
A glittering career is being washed down the drained and fast. One has to wonder why Darkthrone have changed their style.
Valleys_Of_Hades on December 2nd, 2005
Black Metal? Are you sure?
2003’s Hate Them showed Darkthrone SLIGHTLY returning to their rawer, more minimalistic and aggressive roots after a rather disappointing release in 2001 called Plaguewielder. Either way, this album is still a rare listen for me. It’s either that, or just a few songs that I’ll listen to individually off the album. Let’s face it. Darkthrone remains only a shadow of what and who they used to be. And no, I’m not referring to the band’s image. Sure, it was more interesting to see them in their flamboyant, black and white photos wearing corpse paint, leather, inverted crosses, spikes and bullet belts, but it doesn’t take an image like that to make good and interesting music. Just as their image got watered down into a more “normal” approach, so did their music, and everyone saw that change in direction once the band reformed and released Ravishing Grimness in 1999. Hate Them is merely just an old-school punkish sounding Thrash album with the classic Black Metal influences not as present as on the band’s earlier releases. Fuck, the band was at one point true, Unholy, 100%, no frills Black Metal! Not this time though. That’s not to say that the music is bad, but I have to be in the right mood in order to hear it. Then again, if I’m in the mood for something like this, then I’ll just stick to the classics like Hellhammer, Motörhead, Venom and Bulldozer. Compared to those bands, whom were the main inspirations to Darkthrone, Hate Them is nothing more than good background music to listen to…well, most of the time. Anyway, on with the song by song review now.
1. Rust - The weird sound effects in the beginning of this song were done by a guy called Lrz who plays for the Norwegian electronic/industrial band, Red Harvest. The actual song itself is one of the overall least impressive on the album. It isn’t until halfway through that we get some pretty good riffage and thrashing going on. Despite this track (and album in general) being overall more aggressive than the previous two releases from the band, I still miss that dark, blackened, cold and harsh sound the latter day Darkthrone lacks most of the time. However, one thing was brought back that they hadn’t done in awhile…
2. Det Svartner Na - …the Norwegian song titles and lyrics! Okay, so I’m too lazy to look up the English translation of the title right now, but I guess that’s not really the important thing at the moment. The important thing is that this almost sounds like classic fucking Darkthrone! And no, it isn’t just because Nocturno Culto is using his harsh and evil Norwegian lyrics once again, but it’s more due to the raw, straight forwardness of this song. So I wouldn’t exactly call this Black Metal, but it’s a nice mix of old-school punk and extreme Metal done in a more unique sense. With that being said, I would probably indulge in this album if I were a bigger fan of classic punk from the 80s because that’s pretty much what Darkthrone sounds like now.
3. Fucked Up And Ready To Die - At first, you’ll probably notice the Plaguewielder-ish style that the first minute or so of this song conveys. Still, this material here is raw to the fucking bone, meaning that it sounds better than pretty much anything from that album. The song structural technique is just a bit similar to the previous album. Anyway, the rest of this track is a badass assault of Blackened Thrash Metal at it finest. It’s songs like these that cause me to wonder if Darkthrone are really putting all of their skill into making their later albums. It’s just that if they can make badass songs like this still, then why not make the rest of the album just as good? I mean, they USED TO be able to do that, right?
4. Ytterst I Livet - Well, just like the killer tracks that are present on their later records, you also have your handful of mediocre ones as well. Take this one for example; The majority of the track is just a frenzy of harsh yet boring, mid-paced riffs with a constant underlining of double bass. It’s this kind of sound that caused Plaguewielder to be such a crappy album. Once you get past the first four or so minutes of the song, you’re hit once again with a fast paced, Black/Thrash assault done in a very classic way, yet, the band can’t seem to pull off these assaults the same anymore.
5. Divided We Stand - I was reading some other reviews for this album earlier and I noticed that so many people are hailing this album as the band’s best work since Panzerfaust. “It’s an assault on the modern trendy black metal scene” I read from another fan‘s review. Well, I wouldn’t go that far, because this album itself isn’t exactly raw, old-school Black Metal. Old-school, yes, but as most others have pointed out, this is more along the lines of punk than anything, or…”Black n Roll”? I’ve noticed a lot of people calling it that too. The reason for this is because the later Darkthrone material has more groove to it instead of focusing solely on minimalism. The punk riffs also sound a bit rockish as well, particularly on this song.
6. Striving For A Piece Of Lucifer - “I’ve noticed a certain lack of demons lately, and it really worries me sick” is one of the lyrics to this song. Yes, good lyrics, but sadly, it’s all too true. I guess Fenriz really must be noticing a certain lack of demons, because Darkthrone needs to blacken things up a bit more like they used to. Striving for a piece of Lucifer? Yeah, it seems they’re sure striving alright, yet cease to get the amount of ‘Lucifer’ they want in their music. This track is nothing too different from the previous song, but by now, I am totally bored with this album. Like I stated earlier, this serves more like background music than anything. The overall “evil” feel of the music is barely there. The band seems to also be striving to deliver cold and harsh Black Metal like they used to, but for some reason, only do a half assed attempt at it. Good track, but…I really wish that Darkthrone would get that piece of Lucifer that they’re striving for, because this isn’t the cold and evil Darkthrone that we all know and love.
7. In Honor Of Thy Name - A nice, distorted groove riff opens this song up and from then on, the band manages to deliver a nice slab of aggressive, old-school Black Metal. I mean, after reading the lyrics, I hoped that this would certainly be the most blackened song on the record, otherwise, the music wouldn’t fit a lyric like “Black Metal is the Devil’s fuel”. Aside from the groove based opening riff, this track would actually fit on any of Darkthrone’s earlier Black Metal releases if the production were a bit colder. Still, this is by far the best track on the album. Oh, and those weird sound effects at the end are once again, done by Lrz of Red Harvest.
If you noticed by reading the review, Hate Them is a mixed bag of sorts. Overall, it possesses the same punk/thrash/rock-ish feel with a harsher production job to everything, but still, some songs have more of a classic Darkthrone feel to them than others. Needless to say now, I don’t care much for this album. However, their follow-up album, which is also their latest, is a completely different story.
AzzMan on April 1st, 2004
Here comes the BM train...
Last stop is NOT Hate Them. This album burns, kills, rapes, pillages, and all over your stereo. Don't look past it. Theres nothing to not miss.. kind of.
The riffs stay as power chords played over, but they build three or four real nice riffs for each song, alternate between them, and own your soon to be cold heart. The only notable problmes I found were with the intro and outro. Hearing the annoying "opening" in Rust just makes me skip it on WinAmp some times, either that or I just skip about a minute into the song. This dosn't give the vibe it wanted to, but the rest of the song does and does well. Darkthrone can't do much wrong, I don't think, and this is more proof.
From beginning (:45 into Rust) to end, this album pleases aurally, and seems a bit like punk in points. Its not like Transilvanian Hunger or anything, but its really not like Soulside Journey, seeing as its even more evolved. From the said Soulside Journey, we saw Darkthrone's version of what most all black metal bands went through- their Death stage. It went onto black, what, the next album? And there it went on. I have only this, Panzerfaust, Journey and Hunger, so I don't quite know where they went before this, but they do seem to constantly evolve, and are persistant right with it. Keep in mind, it might be too different for some, but welcome for others. I'm the second group, and alot of people are too. Join us, get this album, and be happy.
Not many flaws, just some of the tracks riffs get a bit old. Don't let it get you down, theres too much to miss here! Awesome lyrics, great guitarwork (even if its simple, it sounds great), and ever uber-drumming. Everything in time, everything nice, everything fairly simple but good. Like I said- don't miss it.
Just tell Nocturno Culto you were too busy getting stoned to burn churches, he'll understand.
|D|A|R|K|T|H|R|O|N|E| -- my anti drug
OfBloodandIron on January 20th, 2004
Grimmer Than Art Thou...
This is by no means another Transilvanian Hunger or A Blaze in the Northern Sky(etc), but were we REALLY looking for one? I have yet to hear a Darkthrone album that I sat back and said, "You know what? This blows", but I've also come to understand that magic like TH comes every once in a pagan moon. This is just another worthwhile CD from the grimest of the grim, Darkthrone.
Rust - I respect Darkthrone in everyway possible, but dammit, why did they add this intro? No, it doesn't give me this "cold norwegian blizzard" feeling. It makes me get up and skip(fastforward) it until I hear a guitar. It only lasts 43 seconds, so I suppose it doesn't take away from the song too much. Once the music kicks it, everything is as it should be. Nocturno is top notch. Is there any way to truly describe his voice on this track? There's the right word out there somewhere, but let's just use the word "perfect" for now. The production is lacking (in true DT style), but it's a signature that we've all come to expect.
Det Svartner Nå - The guitars definitely shine on "Det Svartner Nå". Repetitive? Oh Yes. Hypnotic? Yes. Lacking? No. This is where the "cold norwegian blizzard" is. I love this song specifically for that rotating riff and the lyrics. Simple yet, well, striking. It takes a step back into the old days where killer riffs and lyrics with the word "satanic" in them made classics.
Fucked up and Ready to Die - My favorite song on this album. The lyrics, the riffs, and the God-like vocals. The guitars are slow and grinding as if they are leading the song into something. And they are. The song builds until it boils over and Fenriz kicks into furious drumming and the guitars become faster yet still grinding. Each lyric is amazing. "Let's leave this sinking ship together, The water of life will fill your lungs." No need to really explain that lyric as it foreshadows the entire song structure.
Ytterst I Livet - Another grinding song as it's predecessor was. The lyrics are obviously entirely in Norwegian. This is also a building song, but not quite as satisfying as "Fucked up and Ready to Die". Still a solid song, though, don't get me wrong. It builds and grinds on for about 4 minutes and then hits that climax that you're so desperately looking for. Fenriz breaks away from the mundane beats and bangs away while the guitars step out of the building monotony. The highlight carries on until the end of the song, but by the time it kicks in, the song is almost over. Probably my only problem with the album.
Divided We Stand - The opening for this song rocks. One of the three songs with Fenriz did both the music and the lyrics. Just another footnote on this album. Nothing spectacular. The guitars push the drums aside for this one as they own this track. Very repetitive, but very good. About a minute in, they bring about a true hateful listening experience. Nocturno does his part as he always does. I'd say something about him vocals in each track if it would make people understand that his black vocals are the best I've heard (possibly) ever.
Striving for a Piece of Lucifer - The combination of the lyrics and the music is amazing on this track. Apparently Nocturno and Fenriz were on the same page while creating this masterpiece. Cold, Grim, and Hateful. Everything black metal stands for. Obivously Darkthrone show that they're not planning on budging from being the black metal kings anytime soon. Once again Nocturno pulls his weight and more on this song, showing that I was correct when I say his vocals are black metal in every aspect.
In Honour of Thy Name - The guitars rip on this track with Fenriz banging on his set with true hate that anyone can feel just by listening to it. The song switches between the occassional slow, raw riffs and beats with Nocturno dragging out each hateful lyric, then suddenly switching to mind blowing pounding and distortion. I even like the outro. Imagine that. Classic Darkthrone. Something easily compared to the classics of the albums mentioned earlier. This does much justice to Darkthrone and all that they've accomplished.
So in the end, this album isn't innovative. It's not a step in a new direction or expressing some new musical taste. It's just Darkthrone doing what they do best. True Grim Black Metal.
Black_Metal_Bastard on October 26th, 2003
A grim listening experience
This is Darkthrone's newest album. It is more of a return to the raw, garage sound of the early days, but it is still not garage enough to be considered the brother of Transilvanian Hunger. This record is by no means a masterpiece, but it is also by no means a piece of shit. Every song on here is good. They all retain the feeling of grimness and evil, but they none of them are up there with classics like In the Shadow of the Horns or Skald Av Satans Sol (except maybe In Honour of Thy Name).
The guitars are all tuned to D, including the bass, and the riffwork is good, but a step down from Plaguewielder, which is what they intended, and they do it so very well. Fenriz's drums are excellent. He is really a great drummer, but he doesn't really do anything that stands out. Nocturno Culto's vocals are grim, evil, and colder than the freezing moon (bad joke). The vocals may be the stand out of this album.
The production is of course pretty bad, but it is definately good compared to earlier works. It does have a depth to it, which most of their records don't have. I read a review of this album on a site somewhere out there and the guy reviewing it said that the album sucked because of the "demo-like quality of the sound". Well that guy is obviously not been keeping up with Darkthrone since 1991. That is what makes their albums so atmospheric, the really shitty production, but really, this album does NOT have bad quality sound by any means.
Pick this up if you are a Darkthrone fan or a BM fan in general.
Hate Them track list
|2||Det svartner nå||05:37|
|3||Fucked Up and Ready to Die||03:44|
|4||Ytterst i livet||05:25|
|5||Divided We Stand||05:18|
|6||Striving for a Piece of Lucifer||05:31|
|7||In Honour of Thy Name||06:27|
Hate Them lineup
|Nocturno Culto||Vocals, Guitars, Bass|