Opus I: The Khaos Hatefile
There's no real point, at this stage in the game, in dwelling on the evil-as-fuck trappings of Hate Profile's first record, Opus Vol. 1: The Khaos Hatefile—goofy album name; peudo-proggy song names, divided into both suites and chapters; a special nonstandard chapter numbered 6.66—we know at this point that they serve to pretty immediately tell you what kind of music you're listening to, and not more else. If you find them either diabolically alluring or unforgivably repellant, I cannot help you (though even I have to take a second to get over the nearly unforgivable sin of spelling "chaos" with a "kh"). What is underneath, anyway, is more interesting, by a little bit.
What we have here, that is, is a black metal record, which cleaves closely enough to the genre's conventions (you know the ones) to benefit from their effect, while at the same time in fact clearly demonstrating songwriting capacity beyond the usual string of tremolo'd minor-key filler which seems to confront me at every turn.
Main dude Amon 418 takes a bit from every major branch of the black metal tree: there are some electronic elements, a couple processed spoken word bits, some of the latter-day "cold" style of Satyricon and Thorns—but luckily he manages to do this while moving along with a string of interesting or intelligent guitar parts. This is not music which will make anyone sit up in their tomb, with a jolt of excitement so quick that they bump their head on the lid of their granite sarcophagus, but when I decided to give this record a chance I actually found myself rocking out to a pleasing degree. I did not start off on a good note—the obligatory intro drags something fierce—but what we have in The Khaos Hatefile is a wholly coherent black metal record, equal parts moody tremolo bits and choppy, dark thrash riffs, all with a production that strikes a very reasonable balance between listenability and atmosphere.
I feel like I am damning with faint praise here, and maybe I am; if the listener seeks the kind of engrossing, forget-to-breathe sublimity that comes with a spin of, say, Nemesis Divina, they will be disappointed, and indeed if this came up in iTunes when I wasn't paying attention it might pass me right by. But he who is tired of the teenage legions who have the gall to present you with the same tired 40 minutes of shrieking nonsense and call themselves "kvlt" (or, for that matter, the similarly legion internet pundits who flood your screen with breathless praise for some unpronounceable record you've never heard of simply because there were only 14 copies ever made) may find instead here a well-played and actually well thought-out black metal record which may not challenge, but if he opens his ears to it may in fact provide a rollicking good time.