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Supposedly this sounds just like Morbid Angel, which is very untrue in the sense that no two bands sound quite alike, but very true to the extent that a lot of death metal bands sound like Morbid Angel. Hate Eternal guitarist and general frontman and guy-in-charge Eric Rutan has been in and out of that band now and again as “the other guitar player” and so there's another strike against them. I'd never mistake one band for the other, though.
What this album really sounds like is the first two Hate Eternal albums (this is number three), not surprisingly. I thought they were both pretty good, but this one's a whole lot better.
For starters, Eric Rutan's broadened out to using an impassioned gothic vocal style, with some occasional falsetto parts, which works surprisingly well. Combine that with the jazz-influenced drumming and the occasional violin solo and it's clear we're dealing with one of those rare bands that's open-minded enough the move the death metal genre forward.
Of course I'm kidding. There's one small concession to originality (in the usual sense) in the form of some brief tribal drumming (there must be a more accurate way to describe it than that, but bear with me) but I don't think it's convincing anyone, and I could live with it being omitted altogether.
What does this album have going for it, given the fact that it so sorely lacks violin solos? Why bother with it, when there are already two other Hate Eternal albums in precisely the same style? Well, would you believe that the music's better? Consider it as a more perfected version of the rough drafts heard on the first two Hate Eternal albums. Thankfully the predictability that hindered King of all Kings has been jettisoned in favor of more intricate (though understandable) structuring. More superficially, the production is much clearer, while retaining the same power.
Eric Rutan has no other goal with Hate Eternal than to play straight-up death metal, so if you have other goals as a listener, it would be wise to steer clear. He's a master of his craft, though, on the level of riffing and songwriting in the style. What he's doing may not impress you, but how he's doing it should – don't be so jaded as to dismiss it out-of-hand because it doesn't “move the genre forward.”