Fury And Flames
posted on 2/2008 By:
For nearly a decade Hate Eternal have been blasting us into utter oblivion, shamelessly pushing the most extreme velocities of death metal to their limits. I’ve been paying very close attention to this band every step of the way, but stop short of fanboyism because, honestly, I find Erik Rutan’s brainchild to be rather overwhelming in a sometimes not-so-pleasant fashion. Through three albums Rutan and his modestly revolving lineup of fellow bandmates have proven they are all highly capable musicians, and certainly know how to rev-up the speed to inhumane levels, but there has been a special something missing since the debut, Conquering The Throne. Now, with the unchaining of Fury And Flames, Erik and this new recording lineup not only continue to bombard listeners with a wholly intense blasting barrage, but also bring forth an element slightly lacking on both King Of All Kings, and I, Monarch: vital substance.
Yes, it is yet another totally merciless death metal assault from Hate Eternal, but there is also a very deep emotional vibe to this entire album. Inspired by the tragic passing of multitalented, and terribly missed former bassist Jared Anderson (creator of Internecine), there is a true heaviness to this disc which is apparent from the onset. This album exudes not only the grief, but the venomous anger and frustration of dealing with the loss, and as a result, Fury And Flames is a musical step forward on all fronts. Simplicity and complexity collide within these chaotic measures, and one of the first things I noticed is the drumming of newcomer Jade Simonetto. Unlike the clinical, machinelike coldness displayed by Derek Roddy on past albums, Jade adds nuance, subtle precision, and a very humanlike warmth to the events, and yeah, the fucker can also lay down rapid-fire beats to rival just about anyone else in the death metal business (as I glance toward George Kollias, and Kevin Talley among others). Seriously, where did Erik find this dude, and where has he been hiding?
Another thing I absolutely need to mention is there is no catharsis to be felt throughout this album, and the usual release of negative energy that accompanies albums such as this does not exist here. The riffs of “Fury Within”, “Para Bellum”, “Funerary March” and “Thus Salvation” slide like blades across skin, blending both sinuous speed and massive crunch with no sympathy. “Tombeau (Le Tombeau De La Fureur et Des Flames)” is a burly tune that lurches through different tempos with great success, showing a slower and more melodic side to the band with no lessening of power. The disc ends majestically with the operatic “Coronach”, an apt contrast to “Hell Envenom” which opens the album with nerve ratting, terse mid-range speed picking, while mammoth, dynamic tracks like “Bringer Of Storms”, ‘Proclamation Of The Damned”, and “Whom Gods May Destroy” collect many of the best riffs I’ve heard since the debut, along with some of Rutan’s most alkaline vocals to date. Even though the overall pace might be a tad bit slower as a whole from a blasting perspective, the title of this release could not be more accurate when it comes to total presentation.
If there is a weak point to be found, it may lie with the thickness of the guitars which dominate everything, including the drums. Normally, a rhythm guitar-heavy album doesn’t bother me, but with a bass virtuoso like Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse) involved with the proceedings, I would have really liked to hear him a little clearer since the bass I could pin down sounded incredible. Adding second guitarist Shaune Kelley definitely helps with fleshing out the sounds, but some additional bottom-end thump and vibration could have pushed things to perfection.
In the end, this is not simply a new Hate Eternal record, it’s an absolutely monstrous display of heartfelt rage from Erik Rutan and his accomplices. Finally, the beast shows its soul, and not just its wrecking ability, but does so as ferociously as ever before. While not groundbreaking to the genre, Fury And Flames could truly set Hate Eternal firmly among the upper-tier in death metal today with some successful touring and proper promotion, and considering the muse for such a display of malice, I’d say gained respect and awe is aptly deserved. This album is not to be fucked with.
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