Review Summary: It's not free of flaws and it's not indespensible. What it is, is some quality death metal with a different flair and great ideas at work.
When I say “death metal”, what are the first things that pop into your head? Blast beats, death growls, tons of riffs…how about electronics and female clean vocals? That’s not exactly a common characteristic of the genre. But then, The Project Hate MCMXCIX isn’t a common band. From the industrial and symphonic elements to the male and female vocals trading off, they’re very recognizable.
That’s not the only reason they’re good, though, uniqueness in itself isn’t enough to make a band. They’re a very talented group of musicians and their song writing abilities have only gotten better since their debut in 2000. Fast-forward to 2009 and The Project Hate are on their sixth full-length album, The Lustrate Process. While it’s not flawless, it really shows their progression and improvement as a band.
First things first, this album is big. The long songs and song titles, the over the top production, the powerful vocals and instrument tones, it all just adds up to one massive album. That’s not to say it couldn’t do with being a little smaller. There are some things that seem to just be there for the sake of keeping everything long, such as the unnecessary electronics in The Locust Principals and Our Wrath Will Rain Down From the Sky. There are tons of ideas thrown into every song but it’s all just a little too much for one song. If there were more, shorter songs that incorporated all their musical ideas, the album would be better off. It’s the songs that overstay their welcome, rather than the actual album.
Rather than just being cheesy, the over the top symphonic elements actually add to the dark, evil atmosphere of the album. As opposed to the industrial parts, which sometimes just seem to get in the way and interrupt the song. For example, the outro to Descend into the Eternal Pits of Possession, a two minute long industrial affair that serves absolutely no actual purpose.
While they could’ve made better choices with all that, the instrumentation is top-knotch. The lead work is truly great, even if it’s not all that technical. It does what it’s supposed to do, and that is sound awesome. I can’t really say the drums are doing anything special, but they picked the best patterns to go with the music being played and that’s the important part, not to mention the tone is perfect. The bass, because you can actually hear it most of the time, is doing just as well as the guitars. It has a thick, metallic tone that really compliments the aforementioned atmosphere of the album. The guitar has a really dark and low tone to it that makes it powerful and even more so, evil.
Speaking of evil, the lyrics are blasphemous and knock religion and all that jazz, but they do so in a different way. It’s not as obvious that that’s what they’re saying as with other anti-Christian bands. Aside from the lyrics themselves, it’s the way they’re delivered that’s most impressive. You may recognize male vocalist Jörgen Sandström from bands such as Grave or Entombed, and his growls are some of the most powerful I’ve ever heard. He is kind of a one-trick pony, though, as when he tried to change up his style it doesn’t go over as well as his regular lows, but those are so good that it doesn’t really matter.
Now here’s the part that most people would be weary of; the female vocals. If they’re good, that could make the album. If they’re bad, that could break it. Jo Enckell does a fantastic job with her clean vocal duties, apart from a section in The Locust Principals which was sung by Christian Älvestam of Scar Symmetry fame. It really is a shame that this was her last album with the band because she adds a lot to the songs. She sings where growling just wouldn’t sound right, thus adding another layer to the music that just couldn’t be accomplished with just Jörgen.
All in all, this is a beast of an album. While there are some things it would definetly be better off without, it’s an enjoyable experience for fans of death metal that want a little something different. It doesn’t exactly revolutionize the genre as we know it but it does provide a little change of pace that listeners should appreciate. As long as you can pay attention, I think it’s an album worthy of your time.
Descend into the Eternal Pits of Possession
Arise to His World of Infamy
The Burial of Gods