I have something to confess you. This album was the first one I ever reviewed, three years ago when I worked for the Chilean webzine darkmetal.cl (R.I.P.). My rating then was a rather miserable 2/5, as my first impression of “Hate Them” was not good at all, and I used to see this album as the weaker of the large DARKTHRONE discography…a band that had been for long years among my very favourite, by the way. At first I thought that “Hate Them” was boring, slow, with a too rustic songwriting and constructed upon a used and abused recipe…in simpler words, “Hate Them” was the manifestation of the Norwegian Black Metal gods badly copying themselves without delivering anything important for the genre, and what is worse, disrespecting the history of a fucking classic. Great bands like these are the heritage of all mankind, and sometimes we have the feeling that they don’t have the right to throw dirt over their own meaning as legends, releasing bad shit.
Now, I’m not pretentious enough to say that my musical taste had evolved…I feel as Metalhead now as when back in the years I bought my first MEGADETH CD, but my way of understanding Black Metal had certainly changed. Somehow I never stopped listening to this album, and although it was unattractive at first, it began to dramatically grow in me, and then I suddenly I realized that I fucking like it. It can be the angry nihilism unleashed, the outstanding vocal work or the nicely recycled riffs, the fact is that “Hate Them” as a whole works as a totally mad album.
An important characteristic of this, DARKTHRONE’s 10th Full-Length, is that it’s a turn back in the band’s musical history. After the weird CELTIC FROST tribute on “Goatlord” and the straight Black’n’Roll adopted since “Total Death”, the band re-took the raw, dirty and hateful Black Metal of the “Under A Funeral Moon” era. This was exactly one thing I disliked about “Hate Them” at first, but I used to care more about the lack of evolution in music back in the years…now, the only think I ask for in Norsk Black Metal is loyalty to the old-school, guts and occultism, and if there is one band that masters the Black Metal art, that is DARKTHRONE.
Since the beginning with “Rust” the primitive spirit is solid. After a surprising intro – something I would had never expect from this band – the corrosive underdeveloped riffing marks presence…the mid-tempo rhythm is compensated by a very hateful consistency (don’t like to talk about ambience with DARKTHRONE), and all the songs in this album are musically and lyrically a Black Metal manifesto. One of the objectives of this album was certainly to bash against the modern performers of the genre, and it’s wonderful to hear Nocturno Culto growling “I’ve noticed a certain lack of demons lately, and it worries me sick”…well, there were certainly less demons crawling around in 2003 than in 1994, but DARKTHRONE are the proof that there are still a few ones remaining, and totally nasty.
Variation between the songs is not something DARKTHRONE had ever cared about, and here once again all of them are built upon the same formula…Uncompromised Black Metal with a strong punk attitude, raw riffs, simple drumming and a deep ripping growling is everything necessary to construct a master album, at least coming from this pair of sick men…and don’t let a shitty production keep you away from this, neither…you know, that is also part of the game.
(Online January 6, 2007)