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All about the guitars - 85%

erebuszine, April 23rd, 2013

You've got to hand it to Erik Rutan, his star is definitely on the rise. A list of very important death metal releases touched by his eloquent fingers is beginning to form, beginning with this album, running through the new Krisiun, etc. What does this spell out? The rebirth of death metal - the real death metal, not the utterly pathetic goregrind variety that slipped into the scene's bed while black metal was ruling the day. Now that the black metal scene has fallen apart (don't even get me started on that!) a lot of death metal bands have started to resurface, displaying the chops they've been honing over the past five or so years. A good thing? Only, I think, when it is used to further the melodic/rhythmic potential of this genre, and once again start a pattern of progression in a style of music that used to be known mainly for its one-upmanship, competition, and a rabid exploration of extremity. One of the reasons black metal found such a willing audience was that the death metal bands had completely stagnated when extremity for extremity's sake became the order of the day. Has this changed - did death metal bands learn the lesson of the mid-90s and lock themselves in the woodshed to create new reasons for making music? Time will tell.

So what do we have here, on this flagship release for the 'new' death metal scene? Sterility or originality? Derivation or creation?

The best way I can think to introduce this album to you is to say that it's probably everything you are expecting it to be, only much more so. I don't have a problem with saying this is the fastest, most lethal death metal album ever created. After only a few songs into the album, you begin to get that 'kicked in the head' feeling that comes only with the most extreme modern metal bands. This album was written by two guitarists (Rutan and ex-Suffocation axe-slinger Cerrito), produced by a guitarist, and the focus point is obviously going to be on the guitars. In other words: riffing, riffing, riffing. I believe you could take out the drums and bass and this album still would not lose that much power. What you have here are two of the scene's angriest and most innovative guitarists basically trying to out-perform each other and their old bands' material when it comes to the songwriting - pushing death metal kicking and screaming into the new millennium. Certain songs live up to expectation, creating a sound that is almost exactly the Suffocation/Morbid Angel cross ('Spiritual Holocaust' is the best example) that most people were hoping for, but the rest of the album effortlessly blazes a new identity and puts the memory of those bands' contributions to these two guitarists' styles firmly to rest. Make no mistake: this is something new, something completely state of the art.

In fact I really don't think there's any way to adequately describe the guitar work on this album. You just have to listen to it in order to understand.

I have a small amount of trouble even following the riffing here - it is so fast and so rhythmically complex that it often speeds by me before I even get the chance to register it. Because of this, and this album's short length, it begs to be listened to over and over. The soloing is equally interesting: Rutan's lead guitar tone carries the Morbid Angel reverb legacy from 'Domination' while he puts forth eloquent little statements to clarify the rhythm work, and Cerrito's licks and runs are pure hard '90s endtime art. For the most part, however, this album is all about the rhythm work and that display is excellent - some of the best I've ever heard. If you are in any way a fan of either of these guitarists' two earlier bands, or someone who left the death metal scene in disgust at its boring stagnation after the boom of the late-80s/early-90s, I would recommend you pick this up and give it a listen or two. Or more.


Erebus Magazine

Empowerment through extremity - 82%

autothrall, May 13th, 2011

As a shambling, murderous constituent to Ripping Corpse he was a virtual unknown. As an axe wielding mercenary to Morbid Angel he had begun to build a name for himself as a talented fiend who could run alongside Trey Azagthoth in technical ability. As founder and front man for Hate Eternal, Erik Rutan had finally found his temple, performing the death metal as he always wanted to hear it: rapid, ribald and unapologetic. If most of the elements raped upon this debut seem ‘familiar’ to Rutan’s better known alma mater, then perhaps it could be forgiven. He took the accelerated side of Morbid Angel, slathered in brutal vocals akin to David Vincent, George Fisher and Steve Tucker, and peppered his spry lead sensibilities and beloved abuse of deep sliding octave chords to the resulting mass of affliction: Conquering the Throne, a head spinning triumph that makes Formulas Fatal to the Flesh seem more like baby formula.

There is simply no release from the blasting, churning momentum Rutan had drafted on his diabolical desk. To complete this ritual, he hired on some of the best in the business: relentless skingrinder Tim Yeung, Suffocation guitarist/alumni Doug Cerrito, and the late Jared Anderson on bass (who also performed a brief stint with Morbid Angel after the turn of the century). Rutan produced the album himself, and did a rather smashing job of it, with immense punctuation to the guitar tone and vocals, beneath which Yeung propels himself like a swarm of abyssal hornets. Conquering the Throne is one of those rare albums that succeed despite a lack of variation in their jerking, wretched intent. You might damn well consider this a 33 minute ululating omni-song chopped up with a cleaver into inoffensive 2-3 minute segments that each pack a comparable, lethal dose of flailing insanity.

As such, it’s a challenge to select individual favorites. I’d recommend just pummeling on through the whole lot, from the muscular showcase “Praise of the Almighty” to the well of frenetic malpractice that is “Saturated in Dejection”. There’s not much slowdown, the closest might be the curving malevolence of “By His Own Decree” or the bewildering juggernaut that is “Darkness by Oath”, and each of the tracks is kept incredibly busy with a large number of riffs, wailing and efficient leads, and drums that will have you selling your own kit on eBay in no time, since you know you will never play that good. As far as the faceless, unwashed USDM hordes are typically concerned, Hate Eternal is the whole package, a storm of unsubtle atrocities that hammer the audience into rapt submission.

Perfect? Decidedly not, but as far as answering any question that Rutan could strike out on his own, it’s a rousing success. I’ve already mentioned that the songs do lack some individual charisma, and the acrobatic fluency of the guitars very often breed little more than patterns familiar to Morbid Angel or Suffocation, only splayed out at ridiculous speeds. The lyrics follow that same egoist/occultist tradition, heavily centered on theology, that bands like Deicide and Morbid Angel had explored previously. For the ADD addled loud and proud only crowd, this is a sheer paradise of punishment. For the rest of us, we might make an exception to the general indifference towards faceless brutality for an album so finely chiseled to knock our blocks clean into the next century.


Their best album, by far! - 100%

Arise212, February 4th, 2011

If you want a relentless adrenaline rush of brutally fast death metal, this album is definitely for you. Hate Eternal’s first offering titled: “Conquering the Throne” beats you with amazing riffs, as well as offers a barrage of blast beats that hardly ever let up. Tim Yeung’s drumming is incredible. When his skills are matched with the riff masteries of Erik Rutan (Ex-Morbid Angel) and Doug Cerrito (Ex-Suffocation), this album deserves to be listed as one of the greatest death metal efforts to ever be released. Jared Anderson also delivers with his excellence on the bass.

“Conquering the Throne” never gets boring. The opening track “Praise of the Almighty” starts off with the sound of an explosion. This is immediately followed by Erik Rutans echoing screams as you are getting pummeled by the intro riff, backed by Tim Yeung’s blasts. Erik then delivers an excellent performance of growling death metal vocals to add the assault. The following two tracks “Dogma Condemned” and “Catacombs” both start off with very dark, yet brutal intros that will have you banging your head like there is no tomorrow.

I must also compliment the song writing contributions of Doug Cerrito. Especially on two of the three tracks he wrote. “Nailed to Obscurity” and “Dethroned” are both throwbacks to his Suffocation days. In fact, both of those songs sound like they belong on a Suffocation album. Doug Cerrito was a great addition to Hate Eternal. I only wish he could have stayed, because the following releases of this band completely fail to compare to the greatness of this album.

The debut release of Hate Eternal is definitely a brilliant effort. My favorite track of the entire recording is a song called “By His Own Decree.” This track reminds me of the catchiness and heaviness of the Morbid Angel song “Eyes to See, Ears to Hear” released on the Domination album that Erik Rutan had previously contributed to.

“Conquering the Throne” is a must have by every death metal fan. I must warn you to ignore the later releases of Hate Eternal because the song writing is lacking on all of them. This album however, is a great exception. I say with certainty that if you love brutally fast death metal, this album will not disappoint you.

The good Hate Eternal album - 79%

Noktorn, July 25th, 2008

This is the first Hate Eternal album and easily the best. Back in 1999 Erik Rutan was willing to experiment with crazy ideas such as death metal having 'variation' and 'momentum' and 'production that doesn't sound like it was captured in a jellyfish's ass'. There's riffs that are actually memorable, the drums aren't constant blasting (probably because Derek Roddy wasn't in the band yet), and overall it's a very good death metal album, if nothing to get supremely worked up over. Of course on the very next album it all started to go horribly downhill, but at least this is a nice testament to the Hate Eternal that could have been if Erik Rutan would quit being retarded about it.

'Conquering The Throne' is a good album simply by virtue of not being a monotone fucking drone of blast beats and tremolo riffs throughout. There's actual variation and real riffs and song structures not based around constant 32nd notes by all members overlayed with random grunts. Rutan also had the decency to keep all but one of the songs well under the four minute mark, which makes these still very fast and brutal songs much more palatable than the two minute too long monstrosities on albums like 'I, Monarch'. Half the time this doesn't even sound like Hate Eternal simply because there's so much more going on than many fans will be acquainted with based on the band's later output. They're practically different bands.

The production is pretty average modern DM production but compared to the rest of Hate Eternal's catalog it sounds like a Britney Spears album as far as clarity goes. As opposed to 'King Of All Kings' and later albums' wall of insanely distorted guitars with deeply submerged drums and dry vocals, there's some instrumental space here and pretty much everything is given a more or less adequate level of fidelity. It fits the music, which has riffs of some intricacy which do need the extra room to be heard correctly, and it does more justice to Tim Yeung's playing ability to allow him to actually be heard.

In essence, this is close to being the exact opposite of everything Hate Eternal has done afterwards. While 'King Of All Kings' more or less pulled off the 'constant insane brutality' thing without being totally stale, 'Conquering The Throne' is still probably the better album, since a lot of the time I like to have my music with the musicality intact. A lot of people think that Hate Eternal is a terrible band, and I can't entirely disagree with them, but I'd recommend they give this album a try if just to hear one good record from the band. It's really only amazing when compared to the rest of the band's work, but it's still pretty solid on its own.

Death Metal by Numbers - 65%

Annihilist, November 9th, 2007

Most people know Hate Eternal as the "other band" of Morbid Angel's Erik Rutan (guitars/vocals) and Cannibal Corpse's Alex Webster (bass). While these guys are certainly more than competent at their respective instruments, and their musical resumes are quite impressive, Conquering the Throne (their first full-length) doesn't quite live up to the hype surrounding them.

The band wastes no time in kicking off the album; opener "Praise of the Almighty" goes straight for the jugular with Rutan bellowing like a wounded bear over Tim Yeung's insane blastbeats. After that, though, the other songs' formula gets pretty repetitive; you listen to "Dogma Condemned" and "Catacombs," then lose track in the constant double-bass drumming and sixteenth-note guitars until you think you're listening to track number four ("Nailed to Obscurity") when you're really hearing track number nine ("Spiritual Holocaust").

That's not to say that this album doesn't have its bright spots. Rutan's death grunts stay nice and brutal throughout the album; no sad In Flames-esque attempts at clean vocals here. Yeung's stop-start rhythms in the midsection of "The Creed of Chaotic Divinity" couple nicely with the twin guitar attack of Rutan and Doug Cerrito, and Webster provides some rock-steady low end work on "Dethroned" and "Darkness by Oath".

Unfortunately for Hate Eternal (and the listener), however, Conquering the Throne suffers from a moderate case of sameness. This record has some standouts here and there, but not enough to justify the hype surrounding this group, especially given the past work of its members. So you're into standard, by-the-numbers DM with few surprises, by all means, pick this up. But if you're looking for something more nuanced or--dare I say it--original, you'd be better off searching elsewhere.

Puts the later albums to shame. - 93%

thinkpad20, October 7th, 2007

A lot of people criticize Hate Eternal for making extensive use of endless, relentless drumming with rather forgettable riffage over the top of it. The drumming is fast, but it's relentless to the point of monotony. Now, I would probably agree with this assessment had I not fallen in love with their 1999 debut, Conquering the Throne. With a few exceptions, their output post-Conquering the Throne has been monotonous and boring, with nothing particularly notable except for the jaw-dropping speed of a certain drummer. I think Rutan figured if he just told Roddy to play as fast he possibly could, throw in some fills every now and then, and stop after about three minutes, the rest of the album would pretty much write itself. Of course, he was wrong. But I digress -- that's a different review on a different day.

This is a review of Conquering the Throne. And this album is good. I mean, really good. Everything comes together perfectly, from the raw production, the incredible drumming from Tim "The Missile" Yeung, and the damn good riffage. This album manages to walk the fine line of pummelling non-stop speed death metal, without becoming boring. How does it do it?

Let's begin with the production. On the surface, it's not the greatest - rather thin, very raw and harsh, and the bass is virtually inaudible. The loss of the bass is regretable - Jared's parts were surely very well played, but there's no way to tell with this production. However, the raw-ness of the production is actually an asset to this album. It allows all of the instruments parts to be heard very clearly, unlike on later albums where it sounds like the guitars were mashed up in a blender and ladeled like porridge on top of the drums and vocals. And if the album had the characteristic "modern" sound with scooped Dual Rectifiers and all the drums triggered to hell, it would have lost the organic, primal brutality from which this album derives so much strength. And the vocals are in a perfect mix with the rest of the music, clearly audible without overtaking anything. Overall, aside from the MIA bass, the production is just what the doctor ordered.

The elephant in the room on this CD is the appearance of Suffocation's Doug Cerrito, who wrote the songs "Nailed to Obscurity," "Dethroned" and "Spiritual Holocaust," which definitely rank at the top of the heap on this album. These songs essentially pick up where "Despise the Sun" left off; some of the riffs sound like they may have been written for that album. They have the characteristic Suffocation twistyness to them, and some of the trademark stop-start riffage that Suffocation pioneered. But despite this they are very decidedly not Suffocation songs, possibly due to the addition of the light-speed drumming that Suffocation never really had, and fit in surprisingly well with Rutan's tracks. These songs contribute some of the most memorable riffs and best headbanging moments on the album, and can be heard belting from my speakers on an almost daily basis. And for me, a die-hard Suffocation fan, it's really interesting to hear pure Cerrito without Hobbs. The result is very pleasing, although it just makes me want to go to his doorstep and plead with him to get back into music. As it turned out Conquering the Throne would prove to be the last album to which he contributed, at least for the forseeable future.

While in some ways Cerrito's songs steal the show, Rutan definitely brings his A-game with some fantastic riffs, particularly on "Catacombs" (whose 0:53 riff is probably my favorite on the CD) and "Darkness by Oath." Both of these songs feature some great interplay between the guitars that add some real character to the riffs. Rutan's writing on Conquering the Throne is far more memorable than on the later albums. And while in general I find Rutan's soloing style to be a bit irritating, he shows some surprisingly good moments on this CD, particularly the harmonies on solo of "Dogma Condemned." Cerrito also contributes some great short solos, with a very characteristic Suffocation sound to them, such as on "The Creed of Chaotic Divinity."

Not to be left out, of course, is drummer Tim Yeung, or the "The Missile" as he is humorously credited in the liner notes. It's a nickname well deserved, for he displays speed and endurance which back in 1999 was probably rivalled only by Pete Sandoval. On the the whole CD there is probably a total of 20 seconds in which at least one of his limbs is not hitting something at ridiculous speeds. Of course, nowadays there are hundreds of bands with drummers who can match Yeung's performance on Conquering the Throne. However, Yeung infused his lightning perfomance with a great sense of groove, some great fills, and some sort of ineffable energy that his successor seemed to lack, despite his tempi being in general slower. In fact, Yeung's playing at slower speeds such as on "Catacombs" really allows his style to breathe a bit, giving him more room to play around with fills and cymbal patterns, and to mesh really well with the guitars (a great example would be at 2:01 in this song). Another great example of this would be on "By His Own Decree." His prescence on the album is not only as a holy-crap-look-how-fast-he-can-play guy, but as a functioning unit of the album as a whole.

Overall, Conquering the Throne is a statement that just because the music is insanely fast, technical, relentless, and brutal does not mean it can't be interesting, fun and downright catchy at the same time. Somewhere in the three years between this album and King of all Kings, Hate Eternal seemed to have forgotten how to accomplish this feat. I only hope that the addition of Alex Webster can breathe some life into the band, which has become increasingly a parody of themselves, relying more on their drummer's speed and being "brutal" than on good riffs or songwriting. It's clear that Rutan needs another strong creative presence in the band -- which on this album was of course the almighty Cerrito -- to acheive the unlikely blend of endless blastbeating and good songwriting that makes this album so good. Conquering the Throne is the perfect album for someone who wants a relentless musical beating that also manages to make you grin and bang your head.

Violent! - 91%

Bret, October 16th, 2004

The first thing you hear when you pop this cd in is an explosion of fire followed by 30 minutes of blast beats. The music is absolutely relentless from start to finish. Drummer Tim "The Missle" Yeung is responsible for this and I think he does a very good job. If he isn't laying fast snare attacks, he is pummeling you with intense double bass drumming that won't quit.

Guitarists Doug Cerrito and Erik Rutan lay down some killer riffs. If you can hear past the constant blasts, you will hear riffs with a great sense of melody and technique. The guitar solos on this album are relatively short, but very effective. The solos are actually one of the highlights for me. They are not just complete wankfests, but they seem to work very well within the songs.

This is an great album and a lot better than the follow-up, King of All Kings. I don't see how the other reviewers can say it is mediocre. Get this!


Cheeses_Priced, August 31st, 2004

I suppose a lot of people will just hear this as an absurdly fast nonstop death metal blastfest – well, I guess it is, drummer Tim Yeung virtually never lets up and the riffs are almost unbelievably fast at times – but when I put on the album recently and listened to it for the first time in ages, what I really tended to notice was the songwriting differences between Eric Rutan and Doug Cerrito, the two guitarists who collaborated to make the album.

Hate Eternal is really Rutan's band, and so he wrote the majority of the songs here. His most widely-heard contributions to death metal are probably the Morbid Angel albums he played on, and his riffing style is not dissimilar to that band’s. For his own band, though, he seems to reach both for more over-the-top aggression and for more catchiness. Actually, I think his attempts at catchiness have him straying a bit too much into predictability at point; a little too much verse-chorus and shouting the name of the song over and over again at times. Also, it’s sort of a shame that there isn’t more soloing on this album, as I like to hear him play. Still, good stuff – the opening riff to “Catacombs” is especially choice.

However, the three songs contributed to Cerrito – which are similar to Suffocation, naturally– are a little more my speed. His songs are not exactly dramatically different from Rutan’s, I suppose, but Doug Cerrito tends to have a rather convoluted riffing style that appeal to my ears… he surely bears a lot of responsibility for the twisted structures that made listening to Suffocation such a dramatically different experience than the death metal that preceded them. Anyway, his song “Dethroned” in particular stands out as the best track on this album, with the bit that appears at 1:40 and then reappears in extended form at 1:58 being the riffing on the album – it actually sounds like two riffs being played at the same time on one guitar: a simpler main riff that catches the ear and another that fills in the gaps left by the first, like the sound of a violent wind and rain filling the space between thunderclaps.

Anyway, this is worth a listen, and better than the follow-up, in my opinion.