Darkthrone - Hate Cloak

 

Key Facts

Country: πŸ‡³πŸ‡΄

Genre: Black Metal

Release Date: 4th June 2021

Record Label(s): Peaceville Records

Album Release Date: 25th June 2021


Band Members

Fenriz - Drums, Vocals, Bass, Guitars 

Nocturno Culto - Vocals, Guitars, Bass 


Darkthrone - Hate Cloak 


Review
Rating (out of 5🀘): πŸ€˜πŸ€˜πŸ€˜πŸ€˜.5

Norwegian black metal legends Darkthrone are back doing what Darkthrone does, creating dark, sinister music whilst mixing up their sound. With an already highly anticipated new album going by the name of Eternal Hails......, the first single was always going to be a monumental event. Hate Cloak sees the band capitalise on their doom influences, over nine minutes of grimy, dingy and hulking riffs. One thing with this band is that you will never get the same album twice, unapologetically changing and evolving their sound and growing their cult status has given Darkthrone its longevity, and long may it continue with Eternal Hails......!

There is something very Black Sabbath about Hate Cloak. The slow, slugging riffs shrouded in black metal sensibilities is an interesting turn of events for the band. Whilst a lot of their back catalogue contains these doomier, slower songs, and elements of the doom sound in general, but from my recollections,  nothing has been more outright, caveman style doom than Hate Cloak. Over the nine minutes, you get the impression that this song is about an evil wizard looking to use his abilities for sinister and malevolent purposes. The central He character which Nocturno talks about is never truly revealed but the mysticism and enigmatic vibe around this person feel synonymous with the witches, wizards and beasts of usual doom metal songs. It seems to embody the eternal failing quest for some esoteric divine knowledge which in the end tears the mental stability of the pursuer. The final verse loosely backs up this point;

Peering from beneath the layers
Fantasize your ghost
Invoke the drastic spells
Lifelong addicts of exile and gloom

The drastic nature of the dark magic on display here makes you believe that this person is a glutton for pain and suffering yet they try to undo the damage that they have wrought to no avail. The stripped back nature of the song lends to this ominous and tense vibe. The slow, slugging riffs have a sinister claustrophobic feel, as if the cloak of shadows itself was baring down on you, smothering you in a void like darkness. The pounding, driving rhythm keeps the song's pace consistently hard hitting, like a metronomic kick to the head. This new, stripped back Darkthrone is refreshing in many ways, although it does keep the band's traditional black metal style in mind with the more atmospheric lead parts, Hate Cloak has this primal charm to it, going to show that less is more. Overall, Hate Cloak is a tantalising glimpse into one of the most anticipated black metal releases of the year, as it will be interesting how the band follow up 2019's skull splitting Old Star

The song's production is exactly what you'd expect from Darkthrone, lo-fi, grungy and grimy. The treble/mid heavy guitars fuzz and hum with distortion, with the bass adding the thick weight behind the chords. The lead guitar tones are pretty quiet in the mix, and sit in the background to add this haunting effect to the song. This is all underpinned by a robust drum performance from Fenriz, the kick is lo-fi, thick and with an audible pop, possibly due to his aversion to compression? (check this 2013 interview for the reference). Either way, they sound heavy and help drive the songs forward with the rest of the kit sounding like cave drums. Overall, it is a dingy mix that suits the song to perfection, adding to the songs claustrophobic and ominous vibe. 

If you haven't listened to this single yet (the only one from the upcoming album), get it in your ears now and enjoy this fascinating first glimpse at the follow up to 2019's Old Star

Darkthrone - Hate Cloak 

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