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Hate: Solarflesh

It's more and more common these days for bands to use the opening track to prepare listeners for what's coming. Too often, these opening tracks aren't songs so much as they are a sometimes-interesting blend of sounds, rhythms, and incomprehensible words. The purpose of such tracks, I assume, are to help set the tone for live performances, a way of signaling to audiences that their band is about to hit the stage. The problem with such introductions, though, is that they don't necessarily play to the strengths of the albums they belong to. In this case, I was disappointed that "Watchful Eye of Doom" is really three minutes of warming up for the fury that characterizes the rest of the album. Anyone getting ready to listen to this album must not judge it on the merits of the first track alone.

Once things get going with "Eternal Might," the album gives listeners nearly an hour of brutal, down-tuned Black Death metal. There's nothing really new to discover here, but I didn't mind. Hate is technically proficient and explore the melodic and rhythmic possibilities of this style in consistently interesting ways. I often grow tired of the tremolo picking of much Black metal; these guys take the monotony of those rhythms and turn them into something more melodically attractive. Their riffs, too, are strong and interesting, much less pounding and dull than those of their peers. I was especially surprised to hear some melodic guitar soloing here and there on this album. Check out "Endless Purity" for an example of what I mean. There's definitely a melodic sensibility undergirding this album.

The best thing about this album, though, is that the listening experience is slightly different every time. The music here is nuanced and layered in ways that set these guys apart from other bands of their kind. I listened to this album four times before making notes for my review; the last time through, I listened with headphones, paying careful attention to the details of the music. As I listened, I grew more confident of my view that this is an engaging, satisfying, work of extreme music, one worth the attention of new fans.

Track Listing:
1. Watchful Eye of Doom
2. Eternal Might
3. Alchemy of Blood
4. Timeless Kingdom
5. Festival of Slaves
6. Sadness Will Last Forever
7. Solarflesh
8. Endless Purity
9. Mesmerized

Added: January 23rd 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1745
Language: english

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