Darkthrone – ‘Hate Them’ 2CD Re-issue Review

“The drum sound on this album was totally inspired by Girlschool, from a song called ‘come on let’s go!” These are not the words you expect to be greeted by upon placing the ‘hate them’ commentary disc into the CD player, but it once again provides a clear example of why these special edition re-issues from Peaceville are essential for Darkthrone fans everywhere. In previous reviews we have made much of the reclusive nature of the band – interviews with the band were few and far between and historical data on the recording of their albums hard to come by indeed – these magnificent re-issues have done much to change this and once again, as beers pop, Nocturno Culto and Fenriz sit down to talk about the creation of the record, the many influences that swirled through the blackened mix, and their thoughts on how the album has stood the test of time.

To look at the album itself, ‘Hate them’ was always going to be a re-issue to look forward to: one of Darkthrone’s most popular mid-period releases, the production gloriously nails Darkthrone’s sound and whilst it remains gloriously roar there’s a power in the sound of the drums (Girlschool, don’t forget!) and the hideous rumbling of the bass – as the band themselves contest it is one of their most rocking albums. Apparently recorded in a mere 26 hours, ‘Hate Them’ comprises a mere seven songs of uniquely shifting heavy metal music. Shades of death, black, rock ‘n’ roll, classic rock and doom all hurtle through the mix, and even a decade on it sounds quite unlike anybody else – for fans of extreme music it is impossible not to love Darkthrone. Given the speed of the recording session, it comes as no surprise that no bonus tracks, such as session outtakes, are available, and for those who like to keep their original albums intact this will not be a problem anyway.

Fans of the band will undoubtedly be familiar with the first disc  (although if you’re not, you need to rectify this with all the speed you can muster), but the bonus disc, once again, provides so much background to the original that, if you’re a fan, you just cannot miss out on. Listening to the two life-long music fans you get to hear so much more in the album (it helpfully plays in the background to the conversation) and because on this issue Peaceville managed to get both Fenriz (who has kindly graced all of the re-issues) and Nocturno Culto (who appears sporadically) the level of information is raised as the duo spur each other on, the conversation much more natural and organic than when only one of them talks you through the tracks. Once again, it’s like being sat in on a beer-fuelled discussion amongst friends and the defining elements, on all of these re-issues in fact, is the passion and care with which Darkthrone discuss their material. There’s an obvious and infectious love, not just for their own work, but for the majesty of the many forms of metal and rock which inspired their work and, whilst the music itself might be hate-fuelled and brutal, the love for the art of making music itself is truly inspirational. This is something that could never come across as well in liner notes or an essay and whoever came up with this idea deserves beer in abundance for their intuition.

So, why should you buy this version of ‘Hate them’? Well, if you have it then it is a more difficult decision. There are no extra tracks to get to grips with, to be sure, but if you’ve listened to, and loved, the album since it appeared in ’03 then the commentary disc will certainly be something you want to indulge in. if, on the other hand, your Darkthrone collection is incomplete (and you should absolutely have been using the recent spate of excellent re-issues to fill such gaps in your collection) then this is yet another essential purchase. It is, perhaps, inconsiderate (at least for their fans’ bank balances) for Darkthrone to have released so many excellent albums, but in the case of ‘hate them’ the stars aligned for one of their finest albums, possibly the finest album of their tenure on Moonfog, and once again Peaceville have done the album full justice with this excellent double disc edition.

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