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Hate Eternal can always be counted on to deliver an over-the-top assault of blastbeats, dissonant riffs and intense vocals. Erik Rutan has been exploring this formula for years obviously, but to me it still doesn't sound tired. He's very enthusiastic about his work and it shows. Gotta hand it to a guy that gets good at something and sticks with it. I don't think this band will ever really out-do "I, Monarch" but this record comes pretty damn close. The songwriting and production is closer to the work on "I, Monarch" than their last album "Fury and Flames" but there aren't as many instantly catchy parts on this one as there are on Monarch. The drums and guitar aren't fighting each other for space as they did on Fury, which sounds like a 40 minute-long explosion. That album is cool in its own way, but I think this one is a little more listenable. This seems to continue the apparent pattern of Hate Eternal albums being pretty straightforward followed by one that's weird as hell.
What this album does have over Monarch I think is more kick-ass lead guitar work. Rutan has a distinctive tone and style, and he steps it up on this CD. The solos are well constructed and musical, something some death metal guitarists either ignore or forget. There aren't a bunch of sweep arpeggios and tapping wank parts either, but lyrical and cool sounding bends and stuff instead. Like I said, Rutan has his own thing going on and leaves the tapping and sweeping to Origin and Necrophagist (not that I have a problem with either of those bands). The intro to The Art of Redemption has this crazy guitar part that just makes me go "what the fuck?" You keep expecting it to drop down into a low heavy riff but it just keeps building intensity and frenzied dissonance so when it finally does get to the riff it just kicks your ass even more.
There are enough slower parts and weird sections to keep me interested without straying too far from what the Erik Rutan Experience does best: grind your fucking face off. I've been listening to death metal for like 15 years or so and lately I've been pretty bored with the whole genre. This album isn't boring. I'm sure somebody will think it is. People seem to either react to Hate Eternal as having too many blastbeats to the point of monotony or they think it's so over the top that it's unlistenable. I gotta be in the right mood for Hate Eternal, but when it comes down to it, they're not fake, gay, weak or fucking around. You can't take that away from them. And if you haven't seen them live, check it out if you can. Fucking intense. First time I ever heard Hate Eternal was at a concert when they were touring for King of All Kings and I've been a fan ever since.
The only thing that sometimes bugs me about this record is the amount of double-tracked screech/growl vocals. It gets a little overused but other than that, I'm not complaining.
Is this record a radical revolution turning the metal world on its head? No. Does it rock? Fuck yes it does.