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Solid, but somewhat too eclectic - 60%

oneyoudontknow, May 11th, 2014

Hatecrowned is a new black metal from Lebanon. A country that, despite certain tendencies towards radical Islam, has brought forth various metal bands from several genres over the years. As can be expected , the style of the music is closely oriented on what more prominent scenes have to offer, but there has been a change in recent years. Al-Namrood from Saudi-Arabia for instance have added traditional Middle Eastern instruments as well as Arabian lyrics to their compositions, which makes much more sense than some Westerners doing the same out of a basement in Norway for instance.

Leaving this aside, one has to acknowledge that Hatecrowned are unconventional when it comes to their concept, sound and style. While the basic elements are nothing new in particular, the actual mixture and balance of it all is what makes it somewhat interesting. There are elements that work as contrasts and counterpoints. The female vocals add a nice contrast, the arrangements are not plain or endless repetitions of one idea and the songs do not follow the same conception all the time. Quite astounding for a band, who happen to have been around not particularly long and whose first demo would be the one this review is about. Nevertheless, those four compositions have a dominance of black metal in the concept, even though other genres are allowed to shine through as well.

It is not as if some regional or cultural aspects have taken over a dominant part somehow. Rather the overall mixture in this nasty brew cannot be reduced to one facet or style. There is a bit of death metal, a bit of doom metal and also some folk elements. All of these appear in a raw mixture, which has a drum-computer added to it – here, not intentional but rather due to other reasons. As can be expected, the outcome of this is by no means optimal and leaves the listener bewildered about how the music would sound with a proper set-up. Considering how the band avoided a clear emphasis on the drums, the outcome is not as disturbing as in countless other cases in the black metal underground. It tends to backfire though, once the band adds blast beats to their concept and increases the overall tempo. This shift in the level of dominance leaves a slightly bitter taste.

“Warpact in Black” is an interesting release. It feels as if the band attempted to create music with a considerable amount of styles and approaches, while none of these come over in such a way as to be convincing or matured. A bit of this and a bit of that … but nothing definite. Furious, aggressive and intense are three terms that come to mind while listening to this output. The music meanders through these extremes and attempts to avoid a too simplistic or minimalist approach.