Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Best Post-Trilogy Album - 83%

flightoficarus86, January 9th, 2015

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.