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I didn't have ANY expectations before listening to the music found on this disc for the first time. In fact, I had only discovered Ad Hominem at a point when this and the previous 2 LPs had already been released. That said, I found it to be the most disappointing collection of songs from an otherwise supreme band. The reason behind my dislike of the album spawns from the fact that Climax of Hatred really isn't black metal at all. Before you get your little manties in a twist, please read on. You see, everything on the album is a bit "meatier" than Ad Hominem's previous material. If you listen to the repetitive and annoying chorus of the title track, you'll notice some glaring similarities to your average death metal "sheeyat", which just FAILS (as they say).
Moving along, tracks like As I Long For, The Upper Art, and Death to All basically chug along with an aggressive and, again, "meatier" death-like sound... but with no personality or distinction between them at all. It's all very derivative, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if the inspiration is tried and true, however this shit isn't at all anything special. It stinks of plastic, pre-packaged, uninspired metal that really makes one wonder what the hell happened to this band? Who can say... but by the time track 7, My Loudest Scream of Hate, reaches I am thoroughly disgusted by this album. Surprisingly this song isn't too bad; it's still thrashing and has more semblance of a black metal sound (some of the vocals even get a nice raspier, blackish tinge... or perhaps my ears are playing tricks on me while I long for something else). Anyways, the song went on pretty well considering the rest of the album, but it happened... Ad Hominem ruined the entire thing by throwing in a dual-vocal effect at the end of the song (black rasps in the right ear / guttural death grunts in the left). I suppose it doesn't ruin the whole song, as I could probably just find a way to chop off the last 10-20 seconds or so and fade it out, but why the hell would anyone want to do that (or have to)?
If you haven't guessed already, I'm really not a fan of death metal on the whole. There are, however, a few exemplary bands that just destroy boundaries with their offerings of song-writing and playing ability (Autopsy, Nile, Morbid Angel, Behemoth, and Arghoslent all immediately come to mind). Anyways, Ad Hominem toys with the death metal formula and Climax of Hatred, to no surprise, fails miserably for it. The only redeeming moment is on track 9, Crypt of Fear, a Mysticum cover interestingly enough (which reminds me, Mysticum was a band who experimented with the whole industrial/synth element for a long time and is part of the genre). Which leads me to my next point: if you are looking for those type of "post-black metal"/industrial cross-over bands, Ad Hominem isn't one of them (on Climax of Hatred or any other album for that matter). I admit, the intro song has a bit of fuzz and random noise qualifying itself "industrial" in the minds of some, and even some of the other songs have little "industrial" effects (akin to layered vocals, sampling, random noise, etc.) but they're hardly noticeable and sparsely peppered throughout the disc. Just my two cents, but you could seek out stuff like later Samael, Mysticum, Diabolicum, and Thorns for that sort of thing; Ad Hominem DABBLES in the technology like many bands but doesn't wholly rely on it or incorporate to the degree of the aforementioned groups, and therefore isn't really part of the genre. I suppose that is up for debate, though.
Getting back to the album... I did enjoy the militant drum-work of the 2nd track, and of course the Mysticum cover, as I've already mentioned. Track 7, My Loudest Scream of Hatred, was tolerable but ended poorly; these 3 tracks maybe represent 20%, but Ad Hominem scores another 20% on its name alone (respect for previous efforts and such). And so, a score of 40 is all I can tolerate to give them. Originally I had 64% in there, but that rating was not only misleading, but much more out of respect for the band than the quality of the CoH material. I see people rate things in the low 20s or even 0% and I have to wonder if they are metal fans at all?? Or perhaps they are just being dramatic? Anyway, I give this 40%, and that's bloody generous considering that i hate this piece of shit. I would, however, easily take this album over any Rap or Pop-Diva bullshit that is out there. I just can't stomach that thick, down-tuned, meaty sound like death metal is known for in most instances, especially when said band has had an excellent black/thrash formula on albums past. I suppose a band like AH can't write the same music forever, but I think they could have gone a route that was more black metal, not less.
I've never heard of Ad Hominem before. I read some smashing reviews in Danish magazines and thought to give it a try. What a decision!
Ad Hominem plays some of the most aggressive and fast black metal I've heard in a long time. Within the hateful sound, you find elements of catchy riffs and raw, ugly and dirty atmosphere, the style is industrial black metal, which makes it catchy yet terrorising. The sound could be compared a bit to Marduk's "Plague Angel" and Tsjuder's "Desert Northern Hell", but still Ad Hominem sounds like nothing else I've heard before.
The vocals are distorted, hateful and 100% insane! (Reminds a little bit of Abbath's (Immortal) vocal on the intro to Blizzard Beasts). The hate and disgust for mankind and human life couldn't be more intense. The lyrics are all so hateful that they exterminate every proof of life, leaving nothing but pulverizing hate and life turned into dust. Some might say that Ad Hominem's lyrics are a directly attack on Jews, because they (or he) plays NSBM, but through the entire album, it is never mentioned directly; sure there is references to misanthropy, but it is directed to all of mankind.
I can't even pick out a favourite track, because they are all great individually. If I should try to pick out a few, then it may be the title song Climax of Hatred, As I Long For and My Loudest Scream of Hate.
All in all:
Ad Hominem is within no doubt the biggest enemy of mankind. The extreme and intense disgust is so strong and the music so damn great. You almost find yourself marching to your cd-player putting "Climax of Hatred" on repeat again and again. Do yourself a favour and listen to this masterpiece of an album at least once!