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Fucking hell but reviews of this band have the name Behemoth in them as much as the name Hate. However, "Behemoth worship" does not do this justice quite so fully as the casual listener might think. Now Hate were playing death metal before Behemoth ever did, essentially beating them to the brutal death metal style the model-dating media darlings would use to dominate racks of metal magazines worldwide. That should be a known fact, but given the most recent records by Hate will usually be recommended as being "like Behemoth" they might come across as a copycat. The difficulty in treating these chaps fairly lies in those recent records - the Inferno-style drumming, blackened guitars and bellowing, layered vocals that even sound like Nergal are all a recent acquisition. Hate find themselves in the curious position of doing this shit both before and after Behemoth, if you comprehend me. Still sounds good though. Read up, listen and then cast your own aspersions.
These Polish stalwarts do have, on most accounts, a devil of an album here, enough riffs and blasts to inspire awe and fear in the Decibel-reading beginner and I'd venture plenty of meat for the less fussy veterans to get their much-weathered molars into as well. A small issue is the sound, which is a bit less forceful than it was on a record like the punishing Awakening the Liar (when the vocals were Glen Benton worship rather than Nergal worship). The tight drumming, slicing guitars and general cacophony of precision would be better served by a heavier, clearer mix.
With the volume turned up however, you're in for an hour (if you have the version with the bonus tracks which makes for plenty of bang for yer buck) of catchy and technically accomplished blackened death metal. As mentioned, diverse drummer Hexen (who has abused a number of Polish extreme metal bands) is taking a lot of cues from Inferno's style of blasting, but at other tempos matching any riff he's thrown with some pleasantly heavy and complex patterns and beats. For lovers of brutal and technical drumming the record is probably worth investigating merely for this. Destroyer and ATF Sinner meanwhile unleash volleys of intricate riffing patterns, growling rhythms and keening leads, providing plenty of bloodied-fingers competency in their speed and versatility.
Highlights make themselves known readily, and repeat listens may even reveal enough individuality to somewhat appease the cynic. The intro 'Watchful Eye ov Doom' (yes, they're doing the "ov" thing. And yes, it probably counts against them) is very neat, with its groaning chords, as is the atmospheric thump that embellishes the mid-section 'Endless Purity'. These are moments of character and excellence that I can listen to over and over. The menacing, slightly jangling intro to 'Eternal Might' kicks things off decently. An inspiring molten flow of jagged tremolo-picking and ferocious blasting follows. A song like 'Festival ov (gah!!) Slaves' is all tension and arrogant riffs - great stuff. 'Sadness Will Last Forever' truly summons a morose feeling amongst its martial stride, while the exotic instrumentation plucked in the title track is a welcome flash of authenticity. Elsewhere dem Grecian feels are lifted from the annals of Rotting Christ, boasted most awesomely in the closer 'Mesmerized', a well-paced exercise in dire metallic ambiance aided by some cool female chants; here the band successfully do their own thing and no-one else's.
In general the Poles have spared no effort in contextualising their wrath with washes of mysticism; credit where credit's due. Funnily enough, the three bonus tracks have some of the most inventive moments on here ('Hatehammer' would have been a killer opener), some grinding industrial parts and warped, cinematic auras, and if you feel you want this then I urge you to get that version.
Hate have been around a good long while and deserve a chance just for their tenacity. Some will tell you they are the original Behemoth, others will tell you they copy Behemoth - both are basically wrong, they've tried to sound like Deicide before this and ultimately have never really had their own "Hate style" and stuck to it. The thing is, there are reams of bands out there doing a Suffocation sound or an Entombed sound and getting props for it all the same, so there's no reason why these guys shouldn't be accorded the same recognition for doing a particular thing well, and splashing a bit of their own personality onto it too. What they sometimes lack in identity however they certainly make up for in capability and technical chops, and much like previous records this makes for a highly enjoyable listen. In terms of abilities they are undeniable. They're no Lost Soul or Trauma (these are the Polish death metal bands you should be going to first), but I can see myself listening to Solarflesh a bit in the future. I'd definitely be all over a concert if they came to town.