As we celebrate the news that Darkthrone are poised to release album number 15 ‘The Underground Resistance’ in February 2013 it is time to once more dip into their back catalogue which has been exhaustively reissued by label Peaceville. ‘Hate Them’ a nice cold and misanthropic title with music to match was originally released in 2003 and was the duos tenth album. This reissue as ever is backed up by a second director’s commentary disc dissecting it all from Fenriz and Nocturno Culto. This is an especially memorable one as ole Nocturno actually on listening to a section of music gives it a comparison (to Burzum if you wondered) getting a shocked round of applause from his partner in crime; a first! Fenriz of course is a mine of information and hardly belts up. He tells us how pleased he was with the album and especially his drum sound which he compares to Girlschool’s as well as the lyrics here. I am not going to spoil it all for you and the second disc as ever is well worth a listen for loads of extra titbits and info on the recording sessions which were completed in a mere 26 hours!

I have to admit, I found this album a slightly tricky one. It was not one I picked up first time around and it took quite a few listens to start to gel with me. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I really loved its successor ‘Sardonic Wrath’ which I found a much more immediate album, still repeated listens have paid off even if this is never going to be my favourite by them.

Cold atmosphere is set up and indeed finalises the album with some cold dark electronics wrapping around the songs courtesy of Lrz of Red Harvest. A slow crawling and wretched guitar line emerges with craggy and gnarly vocals as we crawl into ‘Rust.’ A burst of raw and classic sounding metal takes it up a notch to wretch away in gravid distempered pounding ooze that is certainly primitive and precedes a faster pace that comes at you like a madman swatting flies from a corpse, spoiling his feast. It is an ugly sounding number make no mistake and vocally Nocturno is in his element. The song is one of seven and they are all quite long and thought out despite the speed of recording, this one finishes with a rollicking groove before the punk, cider swilling pogo of ‘Det Svartner Nå’ piles in, boots stomping and fists flailing. Much blacker sees hate anthem ‘Fucked Up And Ready To Die’ having the instrumentation all flailing into an abyss rather than the looser feel before it but a groove is hit and a melody of sorts emerges from the vicious stew. It’s not a song for liking though, more one for enduring something I found of this album as a whole.

A highlight of the album is the memorable riff on Ytterst i livet,’ it is going to have you joining in, playing air guitar and banging things (ooh err) in time. It’s probably my favourite on the album and the way it goes from slow parts to veritable assaults and batteries makes it all the better. Another pretty damn catchy riff monster if the buzz-saw assault of ‘Striving For A Piece Of Lucifer.’ It sees the album picking up a notch and would be a great live song if… yeah let’s not go there. Still it’s perfect for a neck bracing head bang in the comfort of your own home.

This has actually grown on me more whilst actually reviewing it and is proof that one should never dismiss Darkthrone to get their bloody claws in to you. It’s actually a real shock to realise that the new album is going to be the first since 2010! Still they always seem to manage to keep us on our toes and with ‘In Honour Of They Name’ plowing away in full goat worship let’s hope they never stop.

(7/10 Pete Woods)