"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Hate Eternal - "Fury & Flames" (CD)

Hate Eternal - "Fury & Flames" CD cover image

"Fury & Flames" track listing:

1. Hell Envenom 04:09
2. Whom Gods May Destroy 03:41
3. Para Bellum 04:29
4. Bringer of Storms 05:18
5. The Funerary March 04:15
6. Thus Salvation 03:57
7. Proclamation of the Damned 04:13
8. Fury Within 03:33
9. Tombeau (Le Tombeau De La Fureur et Des Flames) 04:41
10. Coronach

Reviewed by on September 4, 2008

"Certainly, everyone is playing incredibly well, but it’s hard for the average listener to come up against this wall of sound and interpret it."

I’ve checked out some other reviews and it appears that everyone is wanking furiously to this album. Let’s be reasonable, people.

Jade Simonetto’s accurate, technical drums just plow over everything in “Hell Envenom,” even to the detriment of the vocals that powered "I, Monarch." The second guitar is quite annoyingly audible alongside the first, vying with the drums for the title of Most Abrasive. Backing vocals are still utilized to an extent, but mesh with the lead into a barely audible shout. Riffs and hooks are conspicuously absent, perhaps being not being regarded as brutal enough, and you can pretty much forget about solos as well. It’s honestly hard to tell when one track ends and another begins.

"Fury And Flames" is speedy, to be sure, but at what cost? Well, the price to pay was the infamous Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse, and if you can hear him laying down sick bass lines at any point during this album, I will gladly doff my hat to you. Some metal fans enjoy being assaulted with guitar, but adding another to the lineup is a terrible decision just in that Webster may not have otherwise been buried under this formidable mountain. Certainly, everyone is playing incredibly well, but it’s hard for the average listener to come up against this wall of sound and interpret it.

Unlike most of humanity, I followed the progression of this band with interest, feeling that "I, Monarch" exuded a personality and eccentricity of style that hadn’t been so prevalent on "Conquering The Throne," which frankly bored me with its conventional death and perpetual blast beats. This new album is such a far cry from the “Conquering The Throne” sound, in which an increased technicality brought about a clarity that diversified /hate Eternal from the rest of the brutal herd. I had truly hoped to see some development on the extremism and experimentalism of "I, Monarch." Yet, all of the Morbid Angel-styled riffing is gone and it’s hard to discern any older elements coming into play, or the direction that Hate Eternal is pressing towards.

The raw, deep-throated bellow that first came into play on "King of all Kings" is depressively absent, and the shrieking backing vocals that made the awesome dual vocal attacks on "I, Monarch" are no longer a distinct entity.

“Bringer of Storms” thankfully makes everyone slow down for a second and play behind some coherent vocals, with much crashing of the cymbals and bending of the guitar strings to usher in the ending of the song. A sort of chaotic, technical playing emphasizes the theme and highlights members’ strengths more than the beginning of "Fury and Flames." Yet, each song bleeds into the next, with “The Funerary March” truly just picking up where “Bringer Of Storms” left off. “Thus Salvation” gallops a bit with some interesting guitar work and allows for more vocal prominence, but it’s probably once again a personal appreciation for being able to auditorily discern the separate elements of this band. “Tombeau” manages to sound more evil than anything preceding it, with well-placed bits of shredding.

Royalty doesn’t seem to be a prevalent lyrical theme any longer, following more closely with gods of the underworld, war and destruction; perhaps fitting, as Jared Anderson’s tribute album. “Coronach” is the symphonic closer that does well, but hardly fits with the rest of "Fury and Flames" and isn’t half of what “Faceless One” was.

I miss the raw anger of tracks like “Behold Judas”. Oh, and the discernible song structures were nice, too. If you start deceiving yourself that this album is any good, go play “King Of All Kings” and start the lamentations. Fury and Flames merely manifests musicians that we already knew to be excellent and the frenetic pacing of acts such as Origin, but the general identity crisis apprehends these positive bullet points.

Of course, one would want to avoid over-producing a brutal album, but honestly, look what happened here. Hopefully these guys will be able to recognize the problem with undirected fury and flames lashing in all directions. Until then, there’s little positive to say of this effort.

Highs: "Bringer Of Storms" is a noteworthy track.

Lows: Gone is the raw anger of tracks like "Behold Judas" and the epic brutality of "King Of all Kings."

Bottom line: Please insert discernable song structures here: this is just boring, and quite the let-down from the rather engrossing "I, Monarch."

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)