It’s hard for me not to refer to Hate as Behemoth Junior in jest. Just like Behemoth, Hate hail from Poland and play otherworldly-fast Death Metal, but what I didn’t learn until seeing them open for Rotting Christ a couple years ago was that Hate also paint their faces white and wear leather dude-gowns… just like Behemoth. Next thing you know, frontman Adam the First Sinner will be microwaving his balls in an attempt to get cancer so he can beat it. Okay, in all seriousness, it really isn’t much of an insult being so closely compared to such an established, upper-echelon outfit. And to be honest, the Hate camp have somewhat distanced themselves from the clone conversation with this stellar new full-length. Yes, these guys still bring the speed and fury with the best of their countrymates, but Solarflesh is far from a pedal-to-the-metal-100%-of-the-time affair. It’s actually a very layered record, rich in dynamics and atmosphere, whereon songs are given room to breathe. As the moody arrangements shift, the lightspeed brutality sounds all the more explosive when used strategically in relative moderation. It seems they’ve figured out that waiting in line is part of what makes the rollercoaster ride so thrilling. Standout tracks such as “Eternal Might,” “Alchemy ov Blood,” and “Timeless Kingdom” begin as men before violently changing into werewolves, only to mutate elsewhere through a sea of the most evil mid-tempo hooks this side of Morbid Angel and the band’s dazzling start-stop magic. Meanwhile, they resist the urge to blast altogether on double-bass-fueled slow jams like “Sadness Will Last Forever,” “Endless Purity,” and “Mesmerized,” allowing the power of their sound, the precision of their playing, and AtFSinner’s all-pro roar to take center stage. I know it’s early, but the odds of anyone writing a better Death Metal song than the title track this year are slim at best. Just the definitive Hate cut. A pure anthem. Acoustic intro, buildup, blast furnace, a breakdown so wicked it gives me the chills every fucking time, blasted verses, twisted melodies, hook-laden chorus, creepy solo… total perfection. The Limited Edition bonus tracks are a mixed bag. You do get “Hatehammer” (another headbangable down-tempo gem), but you also get “Venom” and “Fall ov All Icons.” Two Ambient/Industrial instrumentals that combine for an awkward double-outro, which —along with relatively unnecessary intro “Watchful Eye ov Doom”— comprise the only filler found on this otherwise excellent monster of an LP. Nothing to make fun ov here.
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