Boy, I’ve rewritten this review just about four times now... See, I’ve always had this love/hate relationship with HATE ETERNAL – always impressed by their superb technical chops and ability to keep on pushing the boundaries of sheer sonic annihilation, but consistently let down by their seemingly innate inability to write songs with good replay value. Call it “quickie” Death Metal, as all their previous albums are currently gathering dust at the bottom of my CD collection. Anyway, here I sit with their latest effort, entitled “Fury And Flames,” and I’m pleased to report that with this one I’m finally leaning more towards the ‘love’ end of that spectrum.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call this album a masterpiece but it is a definite step up from previous efforts. The songs are more intricate (yes it’s possible somehow), even heavier and at the same time just a tad darker in tone. It’s a much more personal record from them, inspired no doubt by former vocalist Jared Anderson’s passing in 2006. For the first time in their career they’ve also enlisted the help of a second guitarist, a smart move as this has resulted in a fuller sound with the riffs carrying more depth and a subtle sense of variety. The first half of this album is nothing less than Death Metal par excellence, with tracks like “Hell Envenom”, “Bringer Of Storms” and “The Funerary March” easily some of their best and most devastating work yet. Utterly heavy, insanely fast (yet well structured and coherent), with many of the riffs recalling those “twisted” melodies that Rob Vigna employs in IMMOLATION. Couple this with punishing choruses and a stellar production job and you have a winner on your hands. The fact that CANNIBAL CORPSE’s Alex Webster fills in on bass doesn’t hurt either.
The album does lose a bit of steam near the end, with some of the songs becoming interchangeable, hence the 7 rating, but it’s clear to this reviewer that the band has delivered their best album yet in “Fury And Flames”. A must for any brutal Death Metal fiend and one of the more pleasant surprises of 2008 thus far.
(Online March 14, 2008)