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Returning to The Throne - 90%

BarbedHelix, May 29th, 2011

Hate Eternal's distinct sound of death metal has always been known for its mix of extreme brutality, speed, and technicality; one of which many bands couldn’t even think about conceiving. The utter intensity of their first two albums Conquering The Throne and King Of All Kings, was unheard of at the time. With their pounding follow up release I, Monarch only adding to this. After the death of Erik Rutan’s good friend and bassist Jared Anderson, Hate Eternal released Fury & Flames with the addition of the legendary Alex Webster. This album split the opinion on Hate Eternal, it was over produced with blaring bass and drums, with the guitars sunk into the background. Was it fucking brutal? Yes. Was it great? No. With a three year period and extensive touring, has this once glorious band to it’s original place; no goddamn question!

After hearing the single Haunting Abound I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I kept my hopes high. I bought the album 2 days after the release in North America and jammed it into my speaker system. First impressions; holy fuck. The production on this album is very consistent and thick, but still keeps its natural sound. There is a reason why Erik is known as a top class producer on top of metal god. The sound of Jade Simonetto’s hurling and extreme drumming is very well done, noticed instantly on the first (not including intro:rebirth) track “The Eternal Ruler”. The mix is what I would consider near perfect, with the triggers not your stereotypical overly treble clicking, they remain low and rumbling while very clean. Continuing the note on Jade, his drumming on Phoenix is unstoppable. He carries the trend set by previous members such as Derek Roddy. The blasting is insane and the double bass is fucking fast, but unfortunately it does get monotonous at times, every song is generally filled with the same stuff, with a few variations “Haunting Abound”, “The Fire Of Resurrection”, and “Lake Ablaze”. To sum it up, great drumming that fits every song very well with surprises here and there, but overall could use a little more creativity too mix it up.

Erik Rutan’s rhythm and guitar has always known to be stunning. Just like his previous albums (not including Fury) his sound is vibrant, harsh, and very well mixed. The impressive part of this is he must of atleast written a 150+ fucking riffs for this album (no joke), every song has so much variation it’s incredible. The rhythm work ranges from full on shreds that grind the listeners brain to a pulp, to haunting progressions. In terms of leads every song generally has two solos, one very well thought out shred solo and one mind blowing melodic solo; As an example, the last part of “The Art Of Redemption”, “Phoenix Amongst The Ashes” and “The Fire Of Resurrection”. The title track and “The Fire Of Resurrection” have a very chilling emotion followed with them, maybe it’s just me but this atmosphere is very attractive, it adds another context to this genre that makes it even more haunting and brutal. The bass work done by JJ on this album is very consistent and listenable, giving your standard tech death bassline a more creative approach, mixing in jazz work and tapping. The mix on the bass is good, not nearly as high on Fury which I kind of liked, but is still audible *most of the time.

In terms of lyrical content, this is poetry, But it doesn't take away at all the hate and death being shown. Go head and read through that lyric booklet and listen to the songs at the same time, and tell me that as a whole they don't fit together perfectly. The vocals are what you would averagely expect from a monster like Erik Rutan, growls on the lower end of the scale while still being very articulate. Lucky JJ performs the classic high pitch snarls and screams present on the other albums, mixed with Eriks you create one of the most intense demonic vocals one can find.

All in all this is nearly a perfect album. Erik performs his masterful knowledge of guitar work and musicianship, while giving a brutal vocal/lyrical performance, while being complimented by JJ’s bass work and high pitched screams. Jade presents his extreme speed and talent throughtout the album, while some what monotonous, is a top candidate for this position. This is one of the bands keeping the greasy gurgling monstrosity of death metal alive and thumping away.