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The Project Hate MCMXCIX are a real treat. Their members are drawn from bands like Torture Division and Vomitory, and are previous alumni of Grave, Entombed and Dark Funeral. This is an apocalyptic, epic, industrial death metal band that fucks with techno samples but doesn't sound like a bunch of amateurs when it comes to the actual death metal bit. Count me a fan, lads. I've never even been into the Monolith Deathcult, but these guys really do it for me. They have a lot of excellent albums under their belts by now, but this is easily one of the best. They've now strengthened their line-up and their sound to the point of domination.
This latest is an album that doesn't fuck about, from the searing roar of guitars that opens 'Iesus Nazarenus, Servus Mei', to the equally searing blasphemous lyrics throughout and the rounds upon rounds of pace changes, surprises and epic crescendos, the thing never once lets up its Christ-hating tirade.
In addition to K Philipson's impressive and eclectic guitar playing and a beast of a drummer in Tobias Gustafsson, they also have a female vocalist, but there are no Within Temptation influences here - the combination of death vocals and soaring female singing kicks arse once again! In fact, new lady vocalist Ruby Roque gets involved on the microphone before Torture Division and ex-Grave tyrant Jorgen Sandstrom does. Roque to me sounds pretty much like Trail of Tears' Catherine Paulsen, which is no bad thing - she's got the same ballsy, fuck you style and heavy range. And with the enraged bawling of the veteran Sandstrom, you've got a killer vocal duo. And the techno bits are really cool, adding a tense counterpoint to to the album's metallic fury.
The album is a full-on monster throughout, bristling with seemingly just about everything the band could think of. The opener has a ridiculously addictive main riff groaning at its heart, supplying some weighty doom moments as well as the muttering, understated but cool techno breaks typical of the album. The format defines the album. The awesomely named 'They Shall All Be Witnesses' twins Sandstrom's gravelly growls with a mammoth Hooded Menace style riff that deserves a song to itself, but in this blasphemous wasteland of mercilessness, it's just one of the weapons at the band's disposal.
The unforgiving guitar tone, relentless drum beats and lifeless feeling leant by the techno sounds give this a real end-world feel. And as the album plays through, we go from initial acts of cataclysmic war to the debris of a dystopian Swedish Ragnarok. As factory towers and power plants smoke against a poisoned, darkened sky and horrific cannibals stalk the unlit streets of once mighty cities, the Project Hate are enthroned in condemnation and detestation above the piles of the bodies of the hubristic and brainwashed. The more urgent rush of 'A Revelation of Desecrated Heavens' gives way to the funereal doom metal and marching death anthems of 'Summoning Majestic War', the rollicking, reveling energy of 'The Serpent Crowning Ritual' and the climactic thrust of closer 'Bring Forth Purgatory'.
Being familiar with the writings of guitarist and mastermind Lord K. Philipson through his great website Global Domination, I reckon he's a guy who loves his death metal to be old school and above all Swedish - but this atypical project is a great statement of what metal can also be if its core is built upon in the right way. Rather than watering it down to its constituent parts to fill radio stations with Neu Deutsche Hart or deathcore, why not expand its boundary-defying and anti-establishment soul into a complex killing machine like this band. Fucking respect to these guys. Worth it for the excellent groovy death metal riffing and badass growls alone if that's all you want, even more worth it for the array of hellish industrial torture instruments the Project Hate also wield if you dig some variety.
Sweden's The Project Hate MCMXCIX (what a name!) has a few rodeos under its belt. The atypical band has been the author of several acclaimed albums that mix a corrupting frontier of death metal into industrial overtones often branded by techno beats or computerized touches, female vocals, and colossal tracks usually tipping the scales past seven minutes, which is quite antithetic overall. Nothing and everything about The Project Hate can be expected, and "Bleeding the New Apocalypse" progresses this visionary project through its stern abnormality and systematical mechanisms, even though the album marks the departure of longtime vocalist Jonna Enckell. But have no fear, for these cyber-blasphemers still zap and crunch like the savage Swedes that they are.
I guess it's important to mention that even though The Project Hate sounds crazy to the discovering newbie, they aren't impossible to digest. In fact, most of the riffs featured in "Bleeding the New Apocalypse" are made of typical techniques and grooves found in most death metal, like mid-paced punches and sharp technicality. Things get weird (in a good way) when the band calculatedly drops programmed beats and haunting synthesizers over their musical attack, which is actually an interesting method; the group's multifarious identity becomes so dazzling it actually stresses the band's performance into an organized mess that the listener will strangely appreciate, jaw on the floor and all. It's actually amazing how they can force so many sounds and thoughts into one song without tripping over their own feet.
The bombastic tirade against Christianity carries on for over an hour, spread over just six tracks of shuffling landscapes which roll like tanks over the endless destruction caused by the band's engulfing carnage. I think it's rather surprising how much they have up their sleeves, even though certain parts of the album (the middle of the thirteen-minute epic "Bring Forth Purgatory") bounce on aimlessly. However, The Hate hardly attracts such redundancy despite these huge tracks, which is always a plus. The record's various cameos provide unique contributions from Mercyful fate shredder Mike Wead, Candlemass' Lief Edling, and Christian Älvestam during certain intervals of the CD as well, another custom of The Hate's ritualistic execution. Not bad pop-ins by the visitors, not bad at all.
Lord K Philipson (the Hate's headhoncho) has interestingly been the subject of some scrutiny regarding the addition of Ruby Roque on female vocals instead of Jonna Enckell, who was exiled from the group prior to this record's birth, making "Bleeding the New Apocalypse" the first release to mark her departure. Any doubts the listener may have about Roque are immediately shattered the second her vigorous, sublime bellows lift the opening "Iesus Nazarenus, Servus Mei" to Olympus. Her voice is unparalleled and sensational; one of the finest female voices you'll ever hear, in fact. Roque's presence makes "Bleeding the New Apocalypse" colorful when it's grey, mighty when it's submissive, and balanced as the monolithic offering begins to tilt. Amazing, amazing performance.
"Bleeding the New Apocalypse" is not a record anyone can easily devour. It requires substantial attention and an acceptance of the coated tunes that slice from here to infinity and stop everywhere in-between; The Project Hate refuses to obey any rules but its own. If you're one of those folks often disgusted by such variety quoted in this piece, then that's fine, but those of you that are willing to let the band take control will probably find a gem worth a spot in your collection. Everything about the Project Hate is perfect on paper: ten-minute songs, industrial overtones, massive riffs, glorious cameos, shearing atmosphere, Ruby Roque's elegant vocals, and other factors that continue The Project Hate's ongoing offensive against the heavens.....someone should stop and ponder whether or not this flawless idea has become a flawless product. Maybe yourself, valued reader?
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com