The Danish HATESPHERE attempts to set the world ablaze with their fifth full-length release since 2001. “Serpent Smiles And Killer Eyes” offers the quintet’s strongest delivery to date with many captivating riffs and a lyrical thunderstorm filled with bitterness and blame. Although you won’t find anything new here, you won’t find much lacking either.
Jacob Bredahl shadows Dave Vincent on tracks such as “Damned Below Judas” with throaty growls that convey an audible and well-enunciated form of angst. “The Slain” contains a series of “Who’s gonna . . .” lyrics aimed at establishing accountability for various causes in the defeat of those who once led the charge. All of Bredahl’s contributions contain underlying agendas, the strongest of which he sings with great conviction and presence. In short, those seeking a politically-motivated release with a few curse words thrown in for positive reinforcement will find much to praise on “Serpent Smiles And Killer Eyes.”
HATESPHERE does not allow listeners to dismiss a track based on the opening riff. Peter Hansen and Henrik Jacobsen craft many fine guitar contributions into the latter halves of each song. The most powerful moments on the release draw from a heavy Thrash influence, with tracks such as “Forever War” and “Floating” conveying a thorough appreciation of the 80’s metal gambit. The tone, tempo, and production, however, are modern and offer more crunch than many of the heavier acts on the scene.
In spite of noteworthy and solid performances HATESPHERE have yet to separate themselves from the flock. Listeners won’t rush to eject the CD, but they won’t find addiction either. The band needs a “stickiness” factor: something that makes their lyrics, their music, and those well-executed guitar riffs “stick” in the listener’s head until executing a mandatory transaction at the local music store. With this HATESPHERE fans will replace today’s verbiage (“Yeah, they’re cool”) with tomorrow’s (“You’ve got to hear this – and bring a clean pair of shorts”).
(Online September 4, 2007)