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Hate - "Solarflesh" (CD)

Hate - "Solarflesh" CD cover image

"Solarflesh" track listing:

1. Watchful Eye of Doom (3:20)
2. Eternal Might (6:08)
3. Alchemy of Blood (4:58)
4. Timeless Kingdom (5:31)
5. Festival of Slaves (4:34)
6. Sadness Will Last Forever (7:05)
7. Solarflesh (5:35)
8. Endless Purity (5:43)
9. Mesmerized (4:56)

Reviewed by on January 17, 2013

"Hate’s newest full-length album is all around very solid death metal that works new angles across each song without losing any of the brutality, and it doesn’t retread the same idea endlessly."

Among the first crop of releases for the new year from Napalm Records is Hate’s “Solarflesh,” which will likely also be one of the most devastating the label unleashes throughout the entirety of 2013. Like some of the biggest and most renowned within Europe's death metal scene, Hate brings on the sonic destruction for all nine tracks (12 on the limited edition version), but the band also knows how to keep the music interesting amidst all the carnage.

Starting off with an atmospheric intro complete with ritualistic chanting and Silent Hill-styled sound effects, it’s clear that “Solarflesh” knows style as well as substance and isn’t going to rely solely on brutality to get the job done. While it is overly long (three-and-a-half minutes of atmosphere before the metal hits should probably be the purview of prog and power metal bands more than a death metal act), it sets up the mood and builds to the necessary climax – an explosion that lasts for essentially the rest of the album.

There are quite a few similarities, both musically and especially in the vocals, with newer Behemoth albums. That style of sound makes for an undeniably awesome release, but some might be bothered by just how much this sounds like “Evangelion.” Thankfully, the problem resolves itself as the album progresses, with the distinctions between the two outfits becoming more apparent with each passing track. Also, in the realm of comparisons, Hate’s interplay of guitar and drums has a tendency to give off a Bloodbath feel, hitting the right balance between old-school death metal and newer, more melodic aesthetics.

Continuing the theme of the intro track, there are some limited tribal and ethnic tropes with drumming and traditional stringed instruments laced throughout intermittently. This is more window dressing than stylistic direction however, confined mostly to the midpoint song “Festival of Slaves” and the title track. In addition to the right balance between different elements, “Solarflesh” hits the right lengths for this style of metal. They are long, but not too long, and even the seven minute track doesn’t ever get old.

Hate’s newest full-length album is all around very solid death metal that works new angles across each song without losing any of the brutality, and it doesn’t retread the same idea endlessly. There’s no question here: this is one of the early strong releases of the year for death metal, and a must-hear for the blackened death crowd.

Highs: Blackened death metal at its best: brutal, but never gets old.

Lows: This sounds a LOT like Behemoth, and the intro track is too long.

Bottom line: 'Solarflesh' kicks off the new year with top-notch blackened death metal.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)