Hate Eternal "Fury & Flames" CDPosted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2008 @ 8:04am » permalink
"Fury & Flames" is Hate Eternal's fourth full-length and Metal Blade Records debut, and to be totally honest with you I really haven't paid much attention to this band since their first album, "Conquering the Throne", hit the streets around eight years ago. I didn't really care for "King of All Kings" when it came out, and so I actually never even heard one note from "I, Monarch". In fact, I was "cleaning house" a few years ago and almost sold "Conquering the Throne", but I listened to it one last time and reminded myself that, yeah, it was definitely a keeper. So, I've had a strange relationship with Hate Eternal over the years, and wasn't sure what to make of this album when it showed up in the ol' mailbox. That was when I noticed that Hate Eternal mastermind Erik Rutan had beefed up the lineup this time around, with former Ripping Corpse bandmate Shaune Kelley joining in on rhythm/lead guitars, and the almighty Alex Webster from Cannibal Corpse handling the bass duties (and it turns out that new drummer Jade Simonetto may look like a youngster, but that dude can fuckin' play, so no worries there), so… that got me curious.
"Fury & Flames" was inspired by and is dedicated to former Hate Eternal bassist Jared Anderson, who sadly passed away in late-2006, and the emotions and everything associated with that type of experience certainly come across in the tense ferocity of the musicianship, as well as a good dose of the lyrical content. My particular listening tastes would've fared better with a hint more breathing room (read: tempo changes), but when said breathing room does rear its head (check out the midpaced riffing and amazing leads that close out "Tombeau…") things really snap powerfully into place. And though I find some of the relentlessly hammering speeds a little tiresome on some level, they do generally serve their purpose, and I can appreciate the discordant nuances of the way the guitar parts are piecing together with the surrounding elements to create this kind of whirlwind effect around the listener or something. There's just a level of experience and expertise present at the core that helps the material to rise above what would easily create pitfalls for lesser musicians, because most of the tracks are around three to four minutes apiece, and just when it starts feeling like overkill, a brief respite will present itself in the form of an unexpected burst of solos, or a pounding bassline fighting into the foreground, or even a few slower, less explosive runs – all of which almost seem strategically placed to maximize the extremity of the listening experience without losing focus.
And I do dig the recording, too. It took just a little bit of getting used to, perhaps because of the frenzied nature of the riffing and the complexities of the layering that's swirling around at relatively high speeds throughout the compositions, but this is one of the best sounding albums I've ever heard from Rutan, and that gets me amped, because I can remember a few times over the years being super impressed by his riffs and writing but just not being able to hang with the sound quality. And that's not the case here, because there's a good sense of clarity to the guitar tone, even with that churning dissonance; you can generally pick out the pummeling basslines amidst the chaos without them being blatantly prominent; and neither the drums nor the vocals ever come across as overpowering, which seems a rare occurrence these days when it comes to death metal that's heavy on the intense, blasting speeds and "controlled chaos" kind of angle, so… overall, a job well done. It couldn't have been easy, but the end result really pulls things together pretty damn well. Good stuff.
In remembrance. Grievous in this state. So solemn in this mourning. In your passing may you find eternal peace. In memoriam. Your presence echoes forever. May your memory never fade. In your passing may you seek eternal rest. May you travel well my friend, through the dismal light. Have no fear of the darkness, seek out what lies before you. By the grace of power you shall rise above us all. Your legacy now speaks volumes, surpasses the realm of mortality, as you are now upon us all. Grant him mercy amongst the graves of all the lands. Grant him everlasting solace. You have now passed on from this world so unjust, so cruel and uncaring. You shall never be forgotten, you shall always be remembered. Blessed be my brother, blessed be my friend. Blessed be my brother, blessed be my friend.