Hate Eternal have been around for quite some time now, and if you look at their lineup, they’ve gone through quite the collection of prominent death metal musicians. In particular, Erik Rutan remains at the lead guitar and vocal spot.
From the opening track, this album felt like a breath of fresh air. I haven’t been listening to much death metal. This hits hard and stays heavy, fast, and dense from start to finish. I had forgotten how much progressive and technical leaning death metal tends to clean up the sound. This hits the sweet spot between messy and making everything audible.
That being said, most of the songs at some point sink into a wall of sound problem. They get into a too-loud flurry of blast beats with only tremolo support. The solid unchanging sound is hard to get excited about. These don’t last long and probably could have been fixed with a slight change in the mixing, but it does give the listener a reliably monotonous section of the song.
I’d have to say that “Infernus” is probably the best song on the album, if only because they break their formula and produce something that sounds new and original. Many of the songs and riffs are forgettable. They follow a set pattern which makes it hard to remember any of them. The “Infernus” riffs aren’t all that interesting either, but they layer them in interesting ways and even have distinct sections of the song with distinct tempos and feel.
As usual, most of the best moments are during the solos, which are actually quite sparse on the album. The solos break you out of the mold, and they experiment with some interesting almost atonal embellishments of the riffs (see “Zealot, Crusader of War”).
Speaking of which, the longer songs tend to do better in the development section. This may sound obvious, but many early Morbid Angel songs were extremely short in comparison to these and yet had an intense and robust development. It’s almost as if they lacked ideas on the shorter tracks and had to pad them out to a reasonable length, but the longer tracks were full of interesting ideas and they had to refrain from going on too long.
Overall, this is a solid death metal album that will scratch the itch you didn’t know you had. It gets the atmosphere and sound right, but it gets old fast and is ultimately forgettable. It is well worth getting if you are looking for new death metal that is also good. I’ve really enjoyed the week I spent with it, but I’m ready to move on.
I’ll give it a 7/10. Here’s a sample: