Among the hundreds of sheep which faithfully follow their designated shepherds, a few tend to abscond out of this incarcerating custody. However, while some regret the fact they have gone astray and keep looking back to what could have been; others hope never to return to their guardian’s bosom and relentlessly seek their own way, having found in themselves the means of survival. Accordingly, instead of following the footsteps of their inspirations blindly, TO HATE seem audacious enough to roam the Melodic Death pastures without custodians, and graze around wherever they feel free from a solitary supervision. It is true that they lack experience, but they have much talent and a whole load of things learnt and things acquired while they were still part of the herd.
Opening the album with a Slovenian Polka intro, makes it clear from the start that “Different Faces” is not going to be a Gothenburg release. Although the ideas seem to stem from the same well, which was shared property of IN FLAMES and DARK TRANQUILLITY once, TO HATE’s final touches are differently executed. There is a peculiar hybrid cross between later DISSECTION and SACRILEGE that makes the music sound quite welcoming to both bands’ fans. It also feels as if many of the riffs were written right after the band had finished an AT THE GATES listening session, in the sense that they sound relatively similar in comparison, hence quite derivative despite the band’s atypical character in which the songs are dressed. The vocally clean verses, which are the cherry on top of this creamy dessert, are sung in the vein of CREMATORY, thus sound rather Gothic for that matter.
What is most admirable about TO HATE, however, is their fervid attitude towards what they do. Two years after their formation in 2007, they confidently self-release this artistically well-crafted debut, and pay close attention down to the minutest of details—the graphical as well as the musical. Their musicianship is as professional as desired; however, the performance would have been much tighter, had the production been up to scratch. There is or seems to be a milli-second divergence in parallelism between the guitars and drums; and, regardless to their artful exploitation, the lead guitars do not actually stand out in the mix. Nonetheless, from the very first moment of its waltzing intro to the last of its Avant-gardist acoustic outro, “Different Faces” proves consistently that TO HATE are on the right path: that when the time has come for them to take their next step, they will crush anything standing in the way.
(Online June 26, 2009)