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Fury & Flames is about the time I fell out of interest in Erik Rutan's workings, because it's nothing more than a retread of the grounds he had covered with the first three albums, each of which offered a functional but diminishing foray into the growing constraints of his imagination. Most of the features here are identifiable trademarks of that post-Morbid Angel. It's fast and brutal as fuck, a clamor that unfortunately, like so many of the band's peers, is often to the album's detriment. The band does toil with some versatility, as upon I, Monarch, but outside of the zippy leads and the cool outro ("Coronach"), there's painfully little that clings to the ear. A race to the end zone that is simply not engaging enough not to change the channel.
Derek Roddy was replaced by a youngster with just as much energy (Jade Simonetto), and in fact the drums are quite loud in the mix, lancing a hyperactive and resonant thunder below the stream of Rutan's powerhouse, unmemorable guitars. No worries there, but despite the excess of energy, it's not a saving grace. Randy Piro had parted with the band, and Jared Anderson sadly passed away in 2006, so Rutan brought in Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse to handle the bass. His lines are certainly impressive from a technical standpoint, as they tend to be, and I often found the guitars so dull that I would turn to Webster to perk my interest, but its like trying to douse a bland meal of cold spaghetti with sauce well past its expiration date. The lyrics cook up that same pseudo occultism prevalent in the death metal genre, usually from the first person perspective and relevant to whatever faux rites of individualism the band is attempting to convey.
As for individual tracks, it's a bit difficult to distinguish much from the teeming, roiling mass of belligerence that populates much of the 40 minute playtime. The first 4-5 tracks tunnel past the listener at an insane pace, but outside of a few of the frenzied thrashing patterns in the midst of "When Gods May Destroy", there's nothing worth revisiting. "Proclamation of the Damned" and "The Funerary March" have some tense, tactile rhythms tucked into their battering, but they never travel anywhere interesting, and the entire album is laden in what must be the most monotonous vocal performance Rutan has yet committed to disc. It's the same shtick he'd been bellowing out since Conquering the Throne, only as time progresses, the percussive meter of the grunting has grown sour and old. The ability of the Hate Eternal musicians is never in question, because the three of them could rival anyone else in the field, but they seem to be writing the death metal equivalent of a train wreck: once it goes off the tracks, crushes a few passengers and gets cleaned up, its likely to be permanently retired.
If you were like me, wondering where HATE ETERNAL would go after its musically diverse album in "I, Monarch" (the last for Earache) and basically assumed that the fourth effort, "Fury & Flames" (the first for Metal Blade) would continue in that direction, then you'd be dead wrong. The path followed on the new album is one of pure speed and unrelenting punishment, almost like "King of All Kings" on steroids. Can you even begin to imagine that? Yet once you regain consciousness from the initial spin or two and listen closely, you'll realize that there is some terrific guitar work going on from Rutan and new/old guy and lead/rhythm guitarist Shaune Kelley (ex-RIPPING CORPSE); oddly melodic (in a vague sense) and twisted as hell. Coupled with the freight train rhythm section of Jade Simonetto and bass master Alex Webster (CANNIBAL CORPSE, BLOTTED SCIENCE), "Fury & Flames" is another death metal juggernaut from Metal Blade (along with the new BRAIN DRILL) that is sure to be considered one of the year's best when it is all said and done.
So we've established that the experimentation heard on the damn solid "I, Monarch" has largely been left behind, save for a brief outro called "Coronach" (with guest vocals from Katy Decker). However, this is no way means that Rutan does not continue to push the envelope. Just listen to the bizarre, yet strangely infectious chords, of "Fury Within" and the winding solo during the last section of "Tombeau (Le Tombeau De La Fureur Et Des Flammes)", a perfect complement to the riffing beneath it. The latter tune is dedicated to late bassist/vocalist Jared Anderson (HATE ETERNAL, INTERNECINE) whose spirit can be felt in every nook and cranny of this disc. Anderson (pictured in the booklet with a dedication from Rutan) would be so proud of this effort. While you'll find that most of these songs have a certain depth to them that cannot be fully appreciated until you've listened a few times, "Bringer of Storms" does hit with more immediacy; it's got the kind of HATE ETERNAL classic feel that was heard on "Powers that Be".
I could go on and on about Webster's immense bass prowess (damn, it sounds fantastic), Simonetto's nerve fraying drumming, or Rutan and Kelley's intricate playing and always distinctive leads. Instead, grab a pair of headphones, spend some time with this one, and hear it for yourself. It will in fact blow your mind and leave you limp. Incredibly fucking heavy.
The Positive :
Eric Rutans master plan has advanced and matured to untold levels of hatred, obscurity, brutality, maturity and technicality. The songs and ideas on this album are above most extreme bands out there, and take you to mind-boggling levels of metal insanity, as your brain tries to process exactly what you are hearing. The album roars open with the jaw-dropping terrifying "Hell Envenom", starting with a growl of the most pissed off barbaric vocals you will ever hear. With the death of Rutans ex bass player and good friend, I expected him to sound slightly more pissed off (if that was at all possible). Not only was it possible, but here he has achieved a new level within extreme metal and hatred as a whole, here Rutan sounds like Satan himself who just got mad and broke out of hell taking his anger out on gods green earth without let up. I have heard a lot of angry, sick and brutal vocals in my time, but this tops the list all-round as the most brutal, intense and aggressive vocals I have ever heard of any extreme band, full stop. As the roaring vocals briefly subside you are dragged through a rumbling double bass earthquake onslaught as the intro builds, which leads into some of the fastest blastbeats to ever be played, light-speed thundering bass and some of the most obscure guitar playing to be conjured by man. Song-wise there are actually too many to name favourites this time round! They all rule. Musically and concept-wise, this is the best Hate Eternal so far, and the most extreme - without a doubt. It's much more advanced, with longer songs (not boring), more thought put into them and insanely bizarre riffs which seemingly makes almost light work of past albums.
The Negative (The Production):
The same enjoyableness of the brutality is also a bit of a let down this time. The thing that lets this album down above anything, as has been pointed out by some already - is the production, and a seemingly trying-too-hard mindset. A lot of people don't realise that when you spend days, weeks recording the same thing over and over trying to perfect it - that your own ears can become almost dumbed down to what you are actually hearing. I think that is part of the problem with this album. I also believe the band has tried to make a brutal raw sound and went overboard in the process. The album is extremely heavy and raw, - but not in a brilliant way, it's overly-bassy, overly-triggered, just squashed and squeezed. I think they were trying to capture a more brutal primitive sound. Examples of how to-do this the right way: Old Repulsion, Old Napalm Death, and the best example of all for this - The 1997 Hate Eternal Demo "Engulfed In Grief". Yes, as a Hate Eternal fan, I am prepared to admit that the sound I think sounds best for hate eternal out of ALL their albums, is the messy unpolished harsh sound of their Demo! And I have a strange feeling that they were trying to recreate some of this original power and rawness - with modern gear and techniques. The only thing I can say to that is - mistake. You can't easily make an honest raw and brutal sound using modern, ultra-polished techniques equipment and gear, without coming across big issues. I would relate this trend of polished modern metal to CGI graphics in new films like Stars Wars, Lord of the Rings - it simply doesn't work. Digital gear and production does not hold the same honest, vibrant, authentic, and “kvlt” feeling of past analogue, tape, film etc. Obviously it's still possible to make great sound using modern digital gear, but I think it’s harder to make that raw chaotic sound - without it sounding fake/overblown! And this is unfortunately for me a prime example. Picking on individual things, the 2 worst things for me on this album production-wise which ruin it are the bass guitar and drums (it's easy to hear this by turning the music down very quietly and listening).
1) The drums are way too loud, bassy and muddy, sound too triggered and rubbery. The worst is the chosen snare drum - or maybe just how it's recording - sounds horrible. It sounds plastic, like the guy is playing 260bpm blastbeats on a tub of ice cream.
2) The bass on top of the muddy drums, you have Alex Websters lava-syrup-thick bass adding too the already bass-overblown sound to create a sloppy slippery monster of, you guessed it, bass! This might have worked better if the guitars were more audible in the mix, but without their presence it seems there’s a bit too much rumbling going on .
The vocals are clear and prominent enough, but the guitars are hidden in the background, buried under an avalanche of bass, barely audible at times, which is a shame because the riffs on this album are incredible - it just takes too many listens to be able to decipher them under the rubbery bass. Erics vocals have improved in fury as stated and he has been bold (although in my view not bold enough) using some subtle effects on the vocals (as per king of all kings intro) in places to create a strange vocal sound which adds in a great way. Anyone with a bit of know about the band knows that this is the first album with a new drummer and bass guitarist, and funnily enough they are the 2 worst things I have selected that ruin the production, get what I’m saying? It appears Mr Rutan has tried to give his new musicians too much room to breathe on this album, literally!
For a band who claimed to be the King of All Kings, leaders not followers, they are seemingly finding it hard to break free of trends within the underground scene. Whilst the musicianship and originality has improved a fair deal, it’s hard to appreciate that improvement because the music suffers overall due to the format in which it is presented - stopping it from being a possible masterpiece. It has not improved over previous works production-wise, it's actually worse, making it difficult to be able to comprehend and listen easily, or at all. Hate Eternals best, most authentic sound for me has and remains to be their 1997 Demo. Trying to create raw and chaotic brutal metal in a polished studio environment in my view is hard, especially when you add a tundra level of bass over everything. For fans of old it's still a very enjoyable listen with some amazing songs, you just have to get past/used to the production, which in some ways could be considered an acquired taste - after many listens I am actually starting to enjoy the rumbling bassyness, but I just wish it was more analogue sounding and not so plastic/rubbery. Because of the way it's presented, making it very hard to decipher, the negative outweighs the positive production-wise on this album in my view, which severely affects the way you perceive it.
To all music producers and the like - especially Eric, if you are reading this - I urge you (in the most positive constructive criticism possible) to give your ears a rest during production and offer the chance to have an advanced hearing of your works to someone, maybe a fan, an unsuspecting member of the public, anyone with enough knowledge and unbiased opinion to criticise and suggest areas that you could improve your final works before you release an album.
I'm sure I am in the same boat with a lot of you on this. I found that Hate Eternal's greatest works came while Jared Anderson was a part of the band. Once I was able to get passed the production on Conquering the Throne, I found the album to be enjoyable it had some really good riffs and an atmosphere that was brutal. King of All Kings was more of the same with somewhat better production and that I would say was my favourite thing Erik Rutan lent his production to. I, Monarch was a bit of a step backward but overall I found it to be a decent album now with a move to Metal Blade records and a lineup change or two we are treated for lack of a better term to "Fury and Flames" now where do I begin? I guess I'll start from the top...
The first thing I thought when I saw the title for this album was, "where is the reference to royalty?" I mean with three albums having a reference to the Monarchy in them I figured they'd keep up that theme like Morbid Angel (which Rutan was a part of) does with their album names being in alphabetical order. However, I was wrong.
Now all joking aside, the worst thing Hate Eternal has done is add a second guitar. Don't get me wrong when I found out Shaun Kelly (ex Ripping Corpse) was joining Rutan on this record I was happy because lets face it, if they were in a band before they should have some chemistry right? Well apparently not. It sounds like the amps they used were turned up way too much and they forgot to take the feedback out of the final mix. I guess that's the best way to describe it. It's all nothing but buzz. You'd think being a producer Rutan would have stepped back for a second and thought, "hey maybe we should re-record the guitar tracks because I can't hear where one guitar part ends and another begins" but obviously that wasn't the case.
The second problem I have with this album is the absence of Derek Roddy. It's fine that they found a drummer who put the effort out to learn the songs at home and normally that would be an ideal choice. Every case has an exception however, because when you listen to the record the drumming tends to sound sloppy and drown out the guitar. I just really think this drummer was not meant to do Roddy's blast beat style.
Now I really don't like bringing up musicians who have passed on especially in a negative way but, I think Jared Anderson (R.I.P.) would turn over in his gave if he was subjected to this album. I'm sorry to say something so harsh but really this album is just terrible. I mean I didn't like I, Monarch at first either but I gave it another chance and my opinion changed however, I've tried numerous times to at least tolerate Fury and Flames but, it just won't happen because this album is utterly the worst relaese to date of 2008 next to Cryptopsy's The Unspoken King.
The new album from Hate Eternal starts as it means to go on, with the brutal-as-fuck 'Hell Envenom'. From listening to this song, it becomes kind of obvious that this is going to be a great death metal album.
The story behind this album is quite interesting. It is dedicated to the legendary Jared Anderson (RIP) who was an intense musician and worked with Erik Rutan quite a lot over the past few years. So basically, this album is fuelled by the emotions Rutan felt about his death, and to be honest, the man sounds like he could kill George Fisher with his bare hands. Which leads nicely onto the fact that the bassist on this album is none other than Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse (and to most death metal fans, Webster and Rutan working on the same album is one of the best things since Schuldiner and Digiorgio.) However, I am disappointed with the fact that his bass seems quite low down in the mix compared to his work with CC. Despite this, it still provides the crunchy background that this band really needs. The album was produced by Erik Rutan himself, and although the album is crushing enough already, it could be A LOT more crushing.
One thing that people seem to be crying over more than Jared Anderson passing is the fact that Derek Roddy isn't drumming on this album. Well, I don't really care about Derek Roddy when Jade Simonetto does such a great job here. I'm not a drum expert at all, but from what I can hear, he executes it all perfectly and there are some of those parts that we loved on 'I, Monarch' where the blastbeats are so violent that they send shivers down your spine.
On their older stuff, you can still recite a lot of the choruses in your head (King Of All Kings: if you're into Hate Eternal you're screaming that chorus in your head right now), they replace that with pure brutality and aggression that is so heavy and fast that it makes you vomit your own guts from the shock. An example is 'Bringer of Storms' where about 30 seconds into the song, a slow droning riff transforms into an elephantine blast beat infested riff-fest, guaranteed to cave your skull in - which is what you buy the CD for. It does what it says on the tin; this is fury in it's most furious form and I love every minute of it.
If you make an overview of global history, you’ll notice how it tends to do the same thing in individual ways, whether it’s illogical genocide, war, or Bill Clinton getting some hanky-panky from a walrus; case in point, it all happens again, just in different forms. In death metal, we’ve often seen Ripping Corpse’s Erik Rutan aim at modernizing the genre with Hate Eternal’s hazy approach, typically forging dull efforts like “I, Monarch.” Alas, “Fury & Flames” still does everything under his particular sun: absorbing trends in death metal, and generally exercising an agenda too ridiculous for its own good, as he’s done before and still does here. Rutan has often times jumped so far overboard that even the genius mind of Alex Webster can’t do anything but watch; he’s clearly trying too hard, and “Fury & Flames” once again acts as another limited result of a fragile, faded musician unsuccessfully trying to obtain the energy from years past.
As its name hints, Hate Eternal’s fourth full-length is like a thousand storms emerging into one, but when saying so, please understand I mean that in the worst way possible. Once the cacophony kicks in, there’s just cloudy guitar sounds invading everything in sight while blasting, technical percussion randomly runs around like a savage madman missing his frontal lobe, and that’s honestly what the whole record sounds like. Hunting for riffs has already left your family starving before even finding a scoping spot, because you need to actually observe comprehension when playing guitar in order to lure in the fine, elegant creature nearly all bands can do without thinking; Hate Eternal, on the other hand, still hasn’t checked for more room in the skull. Hell, Rutan’s growls are faintly good at best, so entwining it all together feels dangerously irritating, almost like death metal is just meant to be incoherent noise slandered in monotonous shouting. Pretty bland stuff, if you ask me.
Yet complications certainly do not halt there, as a dreadful command involving merciless woes pulsing at your face has been given. Most noticeably, solos are rarer than a unicorn, Bruce Willis, and a horde of vampires having tea in Malebolgia’s underpants. There’s maybe six in total, but that might be pushing it. Also, Alex Webster is apparently the bass player here, but where is he? I can only detect a set of pseudo-riffs and spastic percussion layered over foggy growls, but still, it’s completely fine throwing a towel over his presence. After all, he’s just the only reason people have hope for this band, and one of the greatest death metal elites of all time. Nothing too special, right Ruten?
I’ve made myself listen to this CD countless times in hopes of finding something blooming and original, yet within each experience lies an undeniable truth about Hate Eternal’s overall weakness no matter who or what stands in for battle; an invalid attempt at desperately dragging its personal chains up Olympus’ stairs, only to stumble from its grueling expectations for all eternity. Sadly, “Fury & Flames” is nothing more than another Hate Eternal release that tries too hard and fails at vitalizing decency like a starving wolf that ate its food without thinking about tomorrow, so just avoid or watch Erik Ruten musically and poetically struggle for the zillionth time like usual.
This review was written for: www.leviatan-magazine.com
Erik Rutan is not only the leading man for Hate Eternal, but he is also a music producer.... A music producer for Metal Blade Record artists that is. So it seemed when Erik Rutan and Hate Eternal took their show to Metal Blade Records, and knowing Metal Blade is thankful enough to have Erik Rutan produce records for some of their "elite" artists in the past, you would think they are such "buddy buddies" that Metal Blade would give them an excellent album with Erik on the producing helm again with their latest release "Fury & Flames" Unfortunately that is NOT the case...
Previous works these men of Hate Eternal have given us, show that they are brutal, but technical at the same. But, with case of "Fury & Flames" it's a different story. Sure it's brutal, chaotic, technical, and melodic but with a few problems. For instance the musical and instrumental structure is NOT structured in several areas such as the brutal, chaotic, and melodic parts of each songs on this album. As well you can not hear Alex Webster playing his bass at ALL in this album. Second, the guitars and drums moraly dominate the music with several songs in this album. As well, as a band, Hate Eternal is not known to be that generic with their music, but with this album there are hints of generic playing in the music.
Overall this album of "Fury & Flames" that Hate Eternal has given us is a sign that US Death Metal is slipping and sliding on thin ice, as well shows that Metal Blade Records is doing the same thing. Also it shows Metal Blade does not have the touch to make excellent albums for veteran Death Metal artists anymore, and show it's sure sign of decline as a creditable record label for extreme metal bands for the past several years.
This is a good album but, sure needs alot work to be done to make it an excellent and appealing album to any Death Metal fan. I would recommend this album if you are a die hard Hate Eternal fan.
What is wrong with modern US death metal today? It seems to get worse and worse every time someone comes out with something new. It emphasizes the speed and brutality of death metal, yet overlooks coherency. The future looks bleak for US death metal if it keeps going down this path.
Hate Eternal is no exception in this case, as much as I hate to admit it. Fury & Flames is a far cry from what the force Hate Eternal once was. They have become a mere shadow of what talent they have shown on past efforts. First, what hit me as soon as Hell Envenom started was the production. I still want to know where it is. This production, or lack thereof, would have been fine for a band just beginning. However, that is not the case for this particular band. This band has released three great albums, all with better production than the last. Then, they felt that they could go raw black metal on their fans and strip down any polished death metal feel the album had and gave us this abortion they called production. Well, guys, it just simply does not cut it. Back to the drawing board in that department, Erik.
Now I enjoy a slight lack of coherency and displacement from reality in the guitar riffs. The said lack of coherency is welcomed, in some cases, to add flavor and life to the album. In this album, the guitar riffs are filled with nothing but incoherency. Erik and Shaune proved that they cannot work together, since one guitar tries to take lead over another, even when it's not supposed to. By that I mean there are two lead riffs playing where some rhythm should be laid down. That happens especially in Hell Envenom. Never have I been so confused after listening to a song. Another problem I have are with the guitar solos. The solos do not fit into most of the songs. It's not that they can't be put in at all, it's just that they are added in at the most inopportune times. The solos are so out of place that you can pick out where they should go but were kept out for a later part or added too early.
Jade Simonetto is a good drummer. He adds in some good licks into the album. With that being said, you cannot hear what he is doing since the drums are hiding behind the wall of noise called the guitars. Whether that was done intentionally, I cannot say, but it sure was annoying since the obvious highlight of the album was hidden behind the wall of guitar noise and wankery. Now, on to the bass. Alex Webster can barely be heard on this particular album. The magnificent bass lines he usually lays down can barely be heard. Was the bass amp not on? It would not be surprising. It may has well have been, since not even Webster's fantastic bass lines could not save the abomination this album is.
Hate Eternal really needs to go back to the drawing board. Three years, for this?! Absolutely unacceptable. You had time to clean up your production and work on your instrumentation. In other words, Fury & Flames sounds extremely rushed. For your sanity, avoid this album. I feel embarrassed that I spent $16 on this, while it is barely worth $3.
One could say that Erik Ruttan is like Walt Disney. The good Walt, after the commercial failure that was "Fantasia", is supposed to have said :
"People like crap, so I'll give them exactly what they want"
After the failure that was his short-lived Progressive Metal band Alas, Erik Ruttan, labelled "Death Metal Guitar God", seems to have decided to do the same :
"People want useless technical Brutal music, so I'll give them exactly what they want"
Thus said, the beginnings of Hate Eternal were far from being a failure, and "Conquering The Throne" was indeed very very promising. However, the illusion started to be dispelled when "King Of All Kings" was released, and "I, Monarch" struck the final blow : Hate Eternal is a band without songs. What we have here with "Fury & Flames" is something which is the strict definition of what is wrong in nowadays US Death scene. Technically awesome, with more brutality than in the full Mortician discography, a very clean and polished sound and strictly no soul. All songs sound exactly the same, and you could exchange this album with "I, Monarch" in your CD player, and no one would notice the difference. Worse still, the album sounds sterile. There is nothing in it that make "Fury & Flames" stand out as a distinct entity.
There was a time when Hate Eternal was considered a worthy challenger to Morbid Angel, but we must certainly not talk about the same band today. There's no fury, there's no flame and there's certainly not Death in this album. All there is is nearly 40 minutes of very very very demonstrative musicianship (like if we didn't knew already that those people in the band were good), with some dose of MTV brutality. The name is said : this album could be in heavy rotation on MTV, and considering what's liked in Metal in the USA nowadays, no one would mind it. This album is not brutal like Cannibal Corpse used to be, but more like Necrophagist is : you have the bad impression that this brutality is done not because of bad feelings and need to spit some anger, but just because it need to be brutal. This is Death Metal for yuppies and wiggers who don't know shit about Cianide, Mortician or even Immolation. This is a watered down version of Death Metal, not in the sense of the Melodeath, but in the idea that it all sounds like if it has been done by a bunch of advertising executives.
"Fury & Flames" has no balls, no spontaneity, nothing. This album could have been conceived on a computer, we wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Of course, you'll see up and there reviews being amazed at the technical level and the brutality of the music...but today, it seems that every Neo Death bands do the same, and thus sound the same. You can change the name on the CD cover for Job For A Cowboy, All That Remains or This Red Chord : there isn't any difference. There's no Hate left in, but considering that this album will likely be a commercial success, you can put your bet that there will still be the Eternal part left. And thus here's the final question : I wonder what have become of the US Death Metal scene. Because between the horrible Slam Deathcore style and the ultra-technical soulless wankery style, I can name but a few bands remembering that in Death Metal, there's the word Death.
God fucking damnit, I knew this was going to happen. I went out and bought the new Hate Eternal album, not even a week after selling my copy of "I, Monarch". I could shoot myself in the big toe right now for being so stupid, but instead I'll take all my frustration out on this "album". I hated "I, Monarch" with a passion, so I avoided Hate Eternals material for a very long time. That was until I, for whatever reason, checked out the single "Bringer of Storms" for their newest album. It was ok. It definitely had aggression, which I liked, so a few weeks after that I went out and bought "Fury and Flames". This is a mistake I will regret for a very, very long time.
Maybe I was just looking for an excuse to like Hate Eternal, or maybe it's because I have too much time and money. Regardless, this album is absolutely terrible. It took me about three tracks to really see what was going on here. Many, many times the same nagging question kept slipping into my mind. "Where are the RIFFS!?". I can count on one hand the number of times an audible riff is played on this entire album, and when I can make some out, it's stuff my little brother can play. So then, ladies and gentlemen, if there are no riffs to speak of what does that leave us with? Thats right, drums and bass. We're left with a snare drum that is all too loud and makes its presence known far too many times. Really, what were you expecting from drums on a Hate Eternal album? Variety? Wrong.
Of course we have bass god Alex Webster on this album. Surely he can add some flavor to this tragedy! No, sorry, he doesn't. His bass coupled with the drums gives off this annoying rumbling sound, and it is the same, constant sound in every god damn song. And of course that retarded orangutan Erik Rutan's bellows and the banshee bitch screeches of their equally incompetent second guitarist really don't help matters. So that means every song sounds like a four and a half minute elephant fart mixed with idiots yelling in the backround. Great.
I listened to this album in my car, and I'll admit the stereo is pretty bass heavy. So, being the nice guy I am, I gave this a shot on my Zune, thinking the sound would change. Again, three tracks was all it took to realize this is not my cars fault, but this horribly produced albums. I immediately took this shit off my beloved piece of technology, fearing it had somehow been infected by a digitized version of down-syndrome. Perhaps you'll notice I haven't given the album a zero, which it really does deserve. Well it does have one thing going for it. Intensity. On more than one occasion this album had my adrenaline going. But really, if I want adrenaline I'll masturbate with my bedroom door open while my parents are home. So, what I'm saying is, this album serves no purpose what so ever.
Insults aside, I can't stress enough how terrible this album is. It's the same tick-tick drumming we've all heard before, the bass is there, but sounds like an earthquake (not a good thing surprisingly), and there are practically no riffs. What is death metal with out good, aggressive, audible riffs? Death metal with no riffs is eating spaghetti with no sauce. It's bland, it's unrewarding, and at the end of the day, it's just fucking stupid. There isn't a single good track on this album, except the first three minutes of "Bringer of Storms", and couple seconds in "Hell Envenom" and "Whom the Gods May Destroy". Other than that, there is no reason for this album to exist. It needs to be destroyed, stricken from history, and is definitely the album to beat in the "Worst Album of the Year" category.
This album has the fury, but the flames from this abomination couldn't properly cook Ramen fucking Noodles. Avoid at all costs.
A heavy heart yields fierce anger as Hate Eternal’s Fury and Flames takes modern death metal to new levels of uncompromising intensity
The path of…man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who…shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper…I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name…when I lay my vengeance upon thee.
New Jersey native Erik Rutan started his death metal career in the now legendary Ripping Corpse. The band featured a very young Rutan and Shaune Kelley on guitars. If you got to witness them live, their brutality and intensity was more than a little overwhelming. They recorded one full length album, Dreaming with the Dead in 1991. Less than a year later, Ripping Corpse broke up and Rutan went on to join Morbid Angel as a second guitarist. Rutan left Morbid Angel in 2002 to focus fulltime on his side project, Hate Eternal, which he had started in 1997 during a break from Morbid Angel. Hate Eternal’s original line-up consisted of Rutan on guitar and vocals, bassist and co-vocalist Jared Anderson (Morbid Angel), drummer Tim Yueng (Vital Remains, Decrepit Birth) and guitarist Doug Cerrito (Suffocation). Cerrito left after recording the band’s debut, Conquering the Throne. As the band set forth to record their second album, King of All Kings, in 2002, Derek Roddy (Nile, Malevolent Creation) replaced Yeung on drums with Hate Eternal continuing on as a power trio. Soon after Jared Anderson left the band due to personal issues and was replaced by Randy Piro (Gigan). In 2005 the band released their highly acclaimed third album, I, Monarch. In 2006 drummer Derek Roddy announced his departure from Hate Eternal. The band continued on with scheduled tour plans with the help of temporary drummers Kevin Talley (Dying Fetus, Misery Index and Chimaira) and Reno Killerich (Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child and Vile), who was with the band during the filming of their first DVD, The Perilous Fight. The band then went on hiatus and Rutan went to work on producing several highly acclaimed metal albums by bands such as Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore, Vital Remains, Demiricous and Through the Eyes of the Dead at his own Mana Recording Studios in Tampa, Florida. During the band’s period of inactivity, Randy Piro decided to leave the band. In mid-2006 Rutan began thinking about the next Hate Eternal project. He had been talking to his close friend and former Hate Eternal bassist Jared Anderson about possibly rejoining the band. Then Rutan’s world was shaken to its core with the untimely passing of Anderson in October 2006. After contemplating the future of Hate Eternal, Rutan decided to deal with his grief by honoring the wishes and memory of his long time friend and continue on with the band. At the onset of writing for the new album Rutan worked alone, but it wasn’t long before he needed to start putting together a new line-up. Canadian drummer Jade Simonetto (Camilla Rhodes) actually contacted Rutan via Myspace in the summer of 2007. After posting videos on YouTube of himself playing Hate Eternal songs for Rutan to check out, he got the opportunity to audition for the band and landed the spot as permanent drummer. Rutan then brought in long time friend, ex-Ripping Corpse bandmate and Dim Mak guitarist, Shaune Kelley on second guitar. Lastly Rutan filled the bass position by recruiting another old friend, Cannibal Corpse bassist, Alex Webster. With a line-up intact Hate Eternal hunkered down and got to the business of making some new music. The passing of one of his best friends had a profound affect on Rutan and was coming through the music the band was making, influencing the overall vibe of the project.
Anger as a response to grief over a personal loss can make one furious at the world.
The opening track to Fury & Flames “Hell Envenom,” grabs you like a madman, yelling in your face, with all the pain, misery and anguish that you know Rutan was experiencing when he wrote it. The first thing I noticed was the stark departure from the sound of Hate Eternal’s previous efforts. Gone is the band’s razor sharp, clinically sterile trademark sound. It has been replaced with a more organic and forceful dose of superiorly crafted heaviness. Rutan has been quoted as saying, “It’s a very dark and heavy record – not just heavy as in ‘heavy metal,’ but heavy-hearted as well.” He understates the sheer heaviness of Fury & Flames as this album easily crushes everything the band has done in the past. The album’s heaviness does not slow it down though. Despite its gargantuan weight the music moves at an incredibly fast pace that is maintained start to finish. It is quite simply inexorable. This album is so fiercely intense that it is nothing short of awe-inspiring. While earlier work has been an equal mix of chaos and cleverly designed hooks, Fury & Flames focuses less on all out technical precision and more on controlled mayhem brimming with anger and outright aggression. The music is built on riffs that are immediately more urgent and mature than what Rutan has written in the past. This time around the riffs are more aggressive, darker and imposing. Fury & Flames is more of a band album than an Erik Rutan showcase. Rutan pushes his current bandmates to reach a level of unrelenting intensity. In the process they all give 110% of what they have, digging deep and coming up with the strength to create music extremely powerful and unyielding.
A positive way to deal with one’s feelings during a period of mourning is to express them in a creative way, crafting an honorable memorial.
Rutan’s approach going into the album was to honor the memory of his late friend and the track that best reflects his efforts is the album’s final song, “Trombeau (Le Trombeau De La Fureur Et Des Flammes).” This song captures the essence of the new approach Rutan took to his song writing. With the addition of Shaune Kelley as second guitarist there is a more varied flavor to the guitar sound than the band previously had. The wall of guitars is more multi-dimensional than in the past, which tended to be kind of thin and hollow in comparison. Like in the song “Thus Salvation,” Kelley’s playing adds more depth giving the album a more substantial sound. Rutan’s unique guitar tone, especially while soloing, is still present. Together the pair pile on massive amounts of furious shredding. There seems to be fewer solos this time around, but that just might be a result of them being shorter and more concise. This allows Rutan and Kelley to be more effective and emotive without being flashy. That is not to say there aren’t some ferocious solos. The appropriately titled “Fury Within” has one of the albums more vicious solos. Their combined efforts on “Proclamations of the Damned” achieve maximum results also. It is more about the songs than highlighting the guitarists’ technical abilities. Just listen to the dual guitar solos at the end of “Trombeau” and in “The Funerary March.”
Grief can change the way one normally acts. Allowing for the expression and experience of grief can potentially lead to healing that will strengthen and enrich one’s life.
When Alex Webster accepted Rutan’s offer to be a part of this project he knew the album was to be a tribute to a fellow bassist and in his honor, he brought the goods, in spades. Right from the opening of the first song, “Hell Envenom,” it is instantly evident that the bass did not get buried in the mix, an unfortunate quality in other Hate Eternal works. The bass is right up front with everything else. Webster’s sound is better than that on Cannibal Corpse’s latest, Kill (also produced by Rutan), the performances are stronger and more forceful. In the album’s third song “Para Bellum,” Webster displays this force as he punches home the bass lines with frenzied finger picking. That song and “Thus Salvation” make apparent the time and energy of that he must have put into developing the complex bass lines. His distinctive style is ever present in the music throughout the album. He does not let up for one minute, take the driving bass in “The Funerary March,” it is almost exhausting. To me this is some of the best bass playing I’ve heard on a death metal album. As laborious as his playing is, what is felt is the passion with which he plays. The proper combination of technicality and emotion are the key. I think this is the best performance of his career. To his credit, Webster has exquisitely paid homage to the memory of Jared Anderson.
One must give other people the emotional energy that was once given to the loved one who was lost in order to redirect that energy in a healthy way.
After landing the drummer slot in Hate Eternal newcomer Jade Simonetto spent nearly two months with Rutan jamming in pre-production. Rutan has already heaped well earned praise on the twenty-four year old in the press for his dedication to giving the best performance possible. It is obvious. You can hear it on “Whom Gods May Destroy,” Simonetto is merciless behind the kit. From the first song the similarities between his style and former Hate Eternal drummer Derek Roddy are noticeable. It might not so much be the similarities between the two as it is Roddy’s influence on Simonetto. If you liked the drumming on previous Hate Eternal albums, I think you will like this just fine. The main difference is the overall sound of the drums, it is thicker, deeper and more full. This is a testament to Rutan’s production as much as anything. Being as young and talented as he is, Simonetto will most likely be a force to reckon with in death metal for years to come. The song “Para Bellum” is a prime example of his talent. His prowess continues to impress on “Proclamations of the Damned.” In parts of “Fury Within” he unexpectedly locks into a neat little groove. Rutan’s instinct in choosing Simonetto was right on.
During grief, it is common to have conflicting feelings. Sorrow, anger, loneliness, sadness anxiety and guilt often accompany serious loss. Denying feelings and failing to work through the grief is harder on the body and mind than going through them.
Rutan’s vocal approach, guttural and low, is pretty much the same on Fury & Flames as on earlier Hate Eternal albums with two somewhat subtle, but key differences; there is far more emotion and a new found maturity in his voice this time around. Though the approach may have been the same, the results are different; Rutan is at his most somber, earnest and genuine on Fury & Flames. The affect losing his friend had on him is felt. The pain gives way to anger and rage in “Para Bellum.” In “Trombeau” not only does Rutan sound enraged, but sorrowful. The lyrics of this album are poignantly personal too. Keeping with the theme of the album the lyrics of “Trombeau” are heart wrenching and soul bearing. Kelley also takes over the band’s co-vocal duties with piercing death metal screams (which have become a part of the Hate Eternal sound), previously handled by the late Anderson and Randy Piro, affectively adding to the mood of the album. There are many times throughout the album the vocals are almost harmonized increasing the impact they have.
The experience of coping with the loss of a loved one can lead to personal growth, even though it is difficult and trying at times.
Rutan skillfully exhibits his continued growth as a producer with Fury & Flames. This just may be his finest production work to date. The production values of Fury & Flames as a whole stand above that of Hate Eternal’s prior albums. As producer, Rutan was able to push all of the players on this album to get their best performances possible. This album is uncharacteristically loaded with heavy bottom end. It doesn’t make for a muddy or murky sound though. There is clear separation and you are able to hear each instrument. Nothing is lost in the mix. You can tell Rutan wanted this album to be felt and experienced rather than just listened to. Every nuance is audible and there has been meticulous attention to detail. Sometimes this can make an album sound over-produced or even pieced together. That is not the case here; Fury & Flames’ sound is whole and complete. There is still an edge and rawness to the sound. It would have been very easy for Rutan to over think this album because of the meaning behind it and he didn’t. He has every right to be more than satisfied with his work on this album.
One’s role, identity and skills may need to change or be readjusted after a significant loss.
My only dig on this album is the constant barrage of unrelenting ferocity doesn’t allow the listener to come up for air once, making the songs seem somewhat similar. The sameness of the songs may be a direct result of the album being so intense. That sheer intensity alone has this album besting the majority of recent death metal releases. Most death metal is habitually engaged in trying to be intimidating, seldom leaving any opportunity for true emotion. Rutan and crew have come in and cleaned house making room for plenty of it on Fury & Flames. At first the intensity does not make for an easy listen. Repeated listens though unveil a multitude of layers, leaving new discoveries waiting with each subsequent listen. Hate Eternal has created a timeless collection of death metal. Make no mistake about it, even though at the start of this album Erik Rutan was Hate Eternal, Hate Eternal is a band once again and this is a band album.
From the disorganization and sadness that accompanies grief one can attain assimilation of the loss of someone and the redefining of life and meaning without that person.
Though the album was heavily influenced by the passing of Jared Anderson, in many ways it marks several new beginnings for Hate Eternal. Fury & Flames is the band’s fourth studio album, but the first with record label Metal Blade. Hate Eternal will also be touring for the first time as a four piece with Kelley as a permanent member of the band. Fury & Flames allows Hate Eternal close one chapter and begin another, one with seemingly endless possibilities. The album will feature some amazing artwork by the very talented Paul Romano (Mastodon, The Red Chord), who also provided the artwork for I, Monarch. The name of the album itself is a departure from what has been a trilogy of Hate Eternal albums with royal titles. Initially Fury & Flames took its name from a moniker that Jared Anderson used online; it has since taken on a much deeper meaning. One cannot under estimate the heaviness of the emotion on this album. Fury & Flames is Hate Eternal’s best album to date and comes out on top of the metal world, ready to stand its ground as the best death metal album of 2008. A few new bench marks have been set for death metal with this album. It just may be the best and heaviest the metal world gets this year. Fury & Flames is something Jared Anderson would be very proud of. His memory has been well honored.