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For those of you still crying over the latest Morbid Angel abortion, wipe away those tears because Erik Rutan and co are here to save the day. I'd been rather underwhelmed with the Hate Eternal releases prior to Phoenix Amongst the Ashes but it seems that at long last Rutan has managed to assemble the puzzle correctly.
This album is exactly what Morbid Angel's Illud Divinum Insanus album could have/should have been. With precision bordering on frightening with the band playing tighter than a fish's arse, Hate Eternal's sound is the distillation of the US Death Metal sound a la 2011. Phoenix Amongst the Ashes is undeniably modern, with a strong emphasis on speed and blasting, guitar solos spew forth exactly when required, and Rutan's vocals are potent if not unspectacular. The album pretty much blazes across the speakers from start to finish, and fans of Nile, Fleshgod Apocalypse or Hour of Penance will lap this right up.
A special mention goes to "The Art of Redemption" which holds one of the coolest/most bizarre (delete as applicable) moments on the album; where normally the guitars would tremolo pick on the lower strings, they take it to the higher strings (has to be e and b) and it really does sound crazy, shredding your ear drums into a bloody mess. Whilst I think the album is a little too blast-ridden and same-sounding, it doesn't detract half as much as you would think, and never becomes boring. However I feel the album is best listened to in three or four bursts of songs, where it can really hit the mark. A good release that fans of modern death metal should certainly check out.
Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com