REVIEW: HATE ETERNAL – “Upon Desolate Sands”
Hate Eternal started playing the Florida style death metal when the scene was arguably on the decline. Hate Eternal was heavier and more technical than their older counterparts, but they were still of the Florida style in essence. The band returned fairly strongly in 2015 with ‘Infernus’, playing no nonsense death metal of the old. With ‘Upon Desolate Sands’, I believe they clearly outdid their last album.
With ‘Upon Desolate Sands’, Hate Eternal arguably sounds the heaviest it has ever been since the first album. From the moment you hit play to the end of the record, the band furiously thrusts through the tracks like a monolithic ball of fire through hard walls. Aside from the final track “For Whom We Have Lost” which acts as a relatively mellow outro, the album is eight tracks of bludgeoning old school death metal.
Hannes Grossmann’s drum work brings in the ferocity that Eric Rutan’s riffs deserve, and it just elevates the album as a whole. The mixing and production is top-notch as you would expect from Rutan’s involvement. Lyrical themes, all contributed by Rutan, involve despair, apocalyptic scales of destruction, hate, evil and everything around it. Rutan is involved in songwriting for all the tracks, while bassist Hrubovcak contributes on few of the tracks.
Quite a few sections that are the mid-paced gruelling trudging reminds of the mid-era Morbid Angel albeit heavier, and that’s always a good thing. By the end of the first four tracks and already being pumped up enough, one would wonder whether there will be a drop in energy, or if a spell of monotony is going to creep up with the writing. Well, “All Hope Destroyed” is where the band goes berserk with the velocity to levels of aural stampede.
The energy levels are at 11 at all times for the next couple of tracks. This of course doesn’t mean there is any let off of tension in the other tracks. There are hints of sinister and black tones over the violence of the death metal, and that puts a deft tint on the album. The title track features guest vocals by Małgorzata “Maggie” Gwóźdź, and I don’t see what it added to the music.
Thirty nine minutes of unrelenting, uncompromising brutality is what you get from ‘Upon Desolate Sands’. New personnel on the drums has surely helped the band, and who better than Grossmann to bring in the required level of technicality to the ferocious music. Glad to see an old band still going from strength to strength.