Take a big Power Metal fan (me) and have him pretty unimpressed by the debut of a Swedish Power Metal band (HATERUSH). Then give him the second album of said band and imagine the euphoria factor upon reception. Exactly, pretty low. So “Baptised In Fire” was not exactly a high priority release for me to sink my ears into, yet now in hindsight I wish I had not let my first contact with the band misguide me, because their second effort is a very big step forward for the Swedes from Västerås.
Now don’t get me wrong, the quintet still is not breaking any ground or revolutionizing the genre, but this release has most of the things the debut still was lacking, gripping melodies, memorability and most of all the urge to put the CD back in or just hit play again once it is done, so talk about improvement here! Leaving the usual intro aside, “Salvation” alone already sweeps the floor with most of their debut, with lots of power, great melodies and a chorus that you will sing along aloud after you heard if for the first time, this is great Power Metal! Of course not all of the 14 tracks (what is it with bands packing 14 songs on one CD of late?) can pack the same punch, but there is more than one that actually does.
“Ending All The Rage” is more regular Power Metal, but still is a nice firecracker, as are the typically Swedish sounding speedster “Demon Dealer” or “Empire”, which quiets things down during the verse, but then goes all out double-bass in the chorus. “Out Of Reflection” also is a thundering track, looking at this list right now, HATERUSH seem to feel most comfortable, when they can let loose. But also the more stomping mid-tempo songs such as “The Chalice” (with a little sitar action), “Soulsearcher” or “Sorrow” are not bad at all. With the sheer amount of tracks, as to be expected, there also are some pretty generic songs that are not bad per se, but just can’t stand out from the ocean of other compositions of this kind, which in the end is responsible for the rating being lower than it could have been.
The production is clear and powerful, so no complaints in this department, the guys also definitely know how which way to hold their instruments, so with just a little more concentration in the song writing HATERUSH could be on the way to the top, because the progress between the first and the second album is more than remarkable and if you like Power Metal, at least check these guys out and “Salvation” alone might already win you over!
(Online April 26, 2007)