Handful of Hate
posted on 11/2006 By:
While Setherial stomped hard on the brakes with their newest album Death Triumphant, Italy’s black hearted Handful Of Hate repeatedly nail the gas pedal to the floor and take the most harrowing road possible on Gruesome Splendour in a way I wish Belphegor had on their newest disc. However, I must say the songwriting on this CD is still nowhere in league with either Belphegor or Setherial’s newest efforts, despite being a much more intense disc than the other two. Blinding speed and a savage rasping vocal delivery highlight this 9-track slice of nastiness, as things start out pretty fucking strong with the raging inferno blast of “Livid”, which leads into the nicely textured and varied “Theory Of Perfection”, but then oddness begins to happen.
“Used To Discipline” sounds much more death metal than black, infusing chunkier riffs and deeper melodies among the blastbeaten whirlwind with an almost Hate Eternal level of precision. But this is also where the songwriting begins to falter, as the tune ends abruptly and with no buildup, an occasionally repeated occurrence for the remainder of the disc. “Tied, Whipped…Educated” continues with more variation in pace, and “Grotesque In Pleasure, Rotten In Vice” features a huge, yet basic, slow lurching groove during the first part of the tune before switching up to a sudden blasting midsection, and ending with a return to the lumbering march in ponderously nondescript fashion. It’s a little too paint-by-numbers.
Things look up considerably on “Reproach And Blame” when the band wakes up from its midway slumber with more leanings toward dynamically arranged, yet still straightforward technical death complete with abrupt time changes and wicked harmonies. “Whiplaw” also has a brief epic break @ 3:00 which could have been extended, but instead merely returns to a regulation blasting ending. Closer “Ejaculation Dementiae” ends the album with slow, repetitive and timid riffs, an abbreviated vocal segue, and submissive fade-out to conclude more on a limp than a conquering stride. Invariably, this becomes one of those albums full of cool parts, but forgettable individual songs, with no highlights anywhere.
While technically superb and bristling with energy, Gruesome Splendour runs out of fuel by the time it’s over, despite its spirited first couple impressions. Handful Of Hate pack plenty of firepower and know how to use it, but their songwriting falls into ‘more of the same’ territory for the lightning-fast black metal genre (Watain, Marduk, Dark Funeral). I do enjoy when they let some of their death metal influence show since it helps bring across their above-average musicianship, and this is a very good album, but with a little more time and thought this could have been a true monster of a disc. I question its legs for now, but it is still definitely worth checking out, if not owning. Props to Cruz Del Sur for unleashing this blackened abomination.
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