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Made of Hate - "Pathogen" (CD)

Made of Hate - "Pathogen" CD cover image

"Pathogen" track listing:

1. Friend (5:00)
2. Russian Roulette (4:17)
3. You, Departed (4:09)
4. I Can't Believe (6:21)
5. Lock 'n' Load (3:43)
6. Pathogen (5:31)
7. False Flag (4:17)
8. Questions (4:16)

Reviewed by on March 7, 2011

"...I have to listen to the entire album, so I had the pleasure of discovering the second half of 'Pathogen.' And thank God I did, because that first half is something awful."

When was the last time you listened to a metal album and the second half was better than the first? I can’t really remember an instance for me, as the best songs go up front. Sometimes in movies a rollicking second act can save a drab first, and the same for books, but in metal we turn that crap off before the second half even starts. But I have to listen to the entire album, so I had the pleasure of discovering the second half of “Pathogen.” And thank God I did, because that first half is something awful.

“Friend” is just okay as an opener. The main hook sounds pretty great at first but guitarist and hero Mike Kostrzynski fires it off fifty times (I counted!) in five minutes and it gets really tired. The vocals are a different story completely. You know that mocking deep voice you use when you want to make fun of a friend when he said something really dumb? Vocalist Radek Pólrolniczak sounds exactly like that. So, not a great start.

Move on to “Russion Roulette” and shocker of shockers, it’s the exact same hook. “You, Departed” has an interesting syncopated riff off the bat, but eventually there is Kostrzynski again with the same damn hook, just cooked up a little differently to fit the new rhythm. And now Pólrolniczak sounds like he is really drunk and really tired.

But when we get to “Lock ’n’ Load,” we’ve finally got something. The riff bounces around like a frat guy at a party on too much Mountain Dew while playing nice with the growling bass. At less than four minutes Kostrzynski gets one new idea and plays it out without running it into the ground. And by giving bassist Jarek Kajszczak some space now Kostrzynski doesn’t have to do all the work, although he still does quite a bit – that ending solo is killer stuff. The title track is some bluesed-up NWOBHM that bleeds into a fantastic Satriani jam for the last two minutes. “False Flag” and “Questions” combine much of the same: strong riffs and searing solos interspersed with some interesting turns, making sure nothing runs dry.

AFM Records calls the band a power/thrash combo, but Made of Hate really bounces around in the Children of Bodom-In Flames-Dark Tranquility triangle; the group moves between Dark Tranquility’s mellow soundscapes, In Flames’ melodic sensibilities, and Children of Bodom’s wild solos. It is a neat idea to take a little of each and craft something very pleasing, and by the second half of “Pathogen” Made of Hate finally figured out how to do it right. The first half gets two skulls while the second half gets four, so an overall score of three skulls should do it. “Pathogen” started out rough but ended up strong, and everyone likes a happy ending, right?

Highs: The title track is a great combination of bluesy NWOBHM and killer solos.

Lows: The vocals, particularly on the first four songs, are easily the weakest part of the album.

Bottom line: A poor front half is saved by a strong back half for this Polish melodic deathened thrash outfit.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)