The late 1990’s (and the early 2000’s) saw the decline of the Florida death metal scene with uninspiring releases from the few then popular death metal bands from the scene, and among those ruins rose Hate Eternal to find itself on a boat surrounded by a sea of mediocrity. Their albums ‘Conquering the Throne’ and ‘King of All Kings’ showed that the scene still had a bit of life in them, but nothing after that really excited me about the band. Their last release ‘Phoenix Amongst the Ashes’ was a decent comeback of sorts after the sub-par ‘Fury & Flames’, but wasn’t that ‘fresh’, for a lack of better description. Oh well, at least they did not take the path of Morbid Angel and create an abomination. Come 2015, and Hate Eternal has probably brought out an album better than their last 3 releases and on-par with their early classics.
Hate Eternal’s sixth album ‘Infernus’ is how I want veteran bands to release new music – with no sign of fatigue in writing. Erik Rutan is still going strong, even with all the mixing and producing he’s been doing. I mean, he’s not really old or anything, but he’s been an intrinsic part of the scene playing and working with some talented musicians for some time now. Chason Westmoreland comes from a tech-death/deathcore background, yet his drumming on this album feels very well integrated with the Hate Eternal routine. The album opens with a ‘no intro, no nonsense’ approach in the track “Locust Swarm” and goes HAM! from the word go. One track after another, the album never ceases to lose its energy, and the riffs and the drum work seem to competing against each other on who should dominate whom, yet remaining in sync most of the time.
The title track has an immense riff in the first half of it, and it is an earworm. Wait, do I hear some melody in the second half of the track? Cool, that was for a short amount of time though. So, now back to going crazy again. “The Chosen One” shows more speed and finesse, and is one of my favourite tracks on the record. The next couple of tracks are more relentless auditory ferocity. It would be wrong to expect experiments and variations from a straight up savage death metal album, so I’m not going to talk about whether this is monotonous or has mood-swings or any of that. Yes, the songwriting is back, and it’s not just blast beats. The instrumental “Chaos Theory” is probably the farthest away they went with experimentation on this album.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a lot from ‘Infernus’, and was pleasantly surprised. I actually felt like getting out of my seat at certain parts of the album to push things around, and when death metal albums do that to people, it is a sign that they have done a pretty good job. I guess my excitement comes from the fact that a popular death metal band has released a very good album, something that does not happen much nowadays. This is what Morbid Angel’s last album should have been.
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