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A Brilliant, Brutal and Atmospheric Gospel - 91%

Kveldulfr, June 24th, 2013

I've just stumbled upon this album for mere casuality and the immediate thing I heard from people who knew the band when I asked for more information was 'they are a Behemoth clone', which I think it's not a fair tag at all. 'Solarflesh: A Gospel of Radiant Divinity' is not only something far superior to what Behemoth has done Demigod onwards, but also something way more varied and mature to my ears.

In general terms, the album displays a way of blackened death metal more unique than it initally appears. The most notorious thing is the aim for atmosphere more than sheer brutality (despite Solarflesh providing plenty of brutal and hyperspeed blasting). Songs like 'Eternal Might' shows a more dissonant and blackened riffing compared to the technical drumming underneath which keeps playing mostly in mid tempo but adding tons of fills, impossibly fast double bass patterns and a great sense of the use of cymbals.

One of the things I think Behemoth copied from this guys is the fact Hate usually use slow riffs counterpointed by the busy drums. The tremolo riffing is way less prevalent than the dissonant open chords to be found, as well as different arpeggios combined with slow palm-muted chords. The leads are usually in the atmospheric side like Nile does too and the faster soloing is carefully played to complement the overall feeling and brutality/atmosphere - depending of the song and the moment.

Most of songs also display very complex structures where there's no distinguishable chorus. They aren't afraid of repeating some chord progressions with little variation in some songs, since the drums carry the whole weight of both providing the rythmic foundation and the versatility; the guitars are too busy forcing themselves to create atmosphere to get too technical all the time, like on 'Sadness will Last Forever' and especially 'Endless Purity'. Still, there's a lot of rich riffing and complex chord/tremolo constructions to hear this album for the riffs alone. Sometimes, some female vocals are added to enchance the feel of a lost civilization being evoked throught the incantations the band is chanting, like on 'Festival ov Slaves' and 'Mesmerized'.

The vocals are a bit of your standard 'polish' growler: a mix of Piotr and Nergal that doesn't hurt the wholeness in a single bit. The growls are delivered with conviction and enough power to match the brutality and darkness of the music presented. The bass is also pretty audible and delivers some nice basslines like in 'Endless Purity'.

The copy I've got features 3 bonus tracks that could go well with the rest of the album but also at the same time bring new things to the table. 'Hatehammer' has a bit of an industrial feeling but also it's a very atmospheric track; Venom has a strange folkish vibe and serves more as an interlude or intro and 'Fall ov All Icons' that close the album in this way perfectly.

Overall, this a very well crafted execution of death metal with the right pitch black atmosphere, well played, produced and especially written; Hate knows how to create an album with a clear concept translated perfectly into the lyrics and the music.