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Handful Of Hate were one of the greatest bands in Italy for the black metal and I’m so sad that they split up. They passed through different kinds of extreme metal during the years and, if in the beginning they played a sort of occult black metal, going on they increased the speed in the albums to pass through Dark Funeral sounds too(Hierarchy 1999). Then, they added a bigger death metal influence in their sound in Vicecrow to continue this path with the last Gruesome Splendour.
They grew a lot since the beginning and now their style is far more brutal and compact. The production is one of the best you can have around, and let’s image for an Italian band! The power of this band is unbelievable. They are almost constantly on fast tempo with lots of blast beats like in the opener “Livid”. The following “Theory Of Perfection” begins fast to sustain an evil riff through less impulsive passages, pointing on the pure malevolence and less on the violence.
The riffage is completely black metal with tremolo pickings in fast succession, sometimes interrupted by some more death metal oriented parts on the power chords. The vocals are the classic, bad ass and completely unmelodic shrieks from hell, filling the air with blasphemy, perversions0 and Satanic devotion. The mid paced parts are almost impossible to find and the band, with the series “Used To Discipline” and “Tied, Whipped…Educated” reaches the peak in brutality. To mark the epic, massive and perverted riffage in this last track. This is a sign that this band doesn’t point only on the pure speed but has a lot of skills also when it’s time to slow down to follow more melodic solutions.
As an example of what I said, check also the following “Grotesque In Pleasure, Rotten In Vice”. This is a long, dark march in pure Marduk style with following speed restarts, but always with the band’s personal touch in the songwriting. In a song like “Reproach And Blame”, the intricate guitars riffage is astonishing and, despite this, is always able to bring a burden of unmatched blackness. Listening to these songs it’s like being run over by an immense mountain of pitch black madness.
Overall, a very good piece of intricate, fast and overwhelming black metal with excellent songwriting and several mature solutions also during the more mid paced parts to carry on the malignance under another form instead of the classic blast beats. A great band.