Review Summary: A very solid effort from Dismember marred by one song.
For a band that has more than shown their capabilities with the incredible Like An Ever Flowing Stream, Dismember sure aren't that consistent. Many of their later releases suffer from filler and re-hashes of the same ideas found on that legendary work to the point of stagnancy. However the band still manage to make their quality visible when they aren't just content with plagarising their own work. Every album following their awe-inspiring debut has at least one track worth speaking about but the one that takes the silver medal within their discography would be 2000's Hate Campaign.
The album captures Dismember at their fastest and angriest and is easily the best album they put out since Like An Ever Folowing Stream. All the traits that made their debut so solid are back in scintillating form on Hate Campaign. The guitar work is fast and furious, the drummer goes barbarian on his kit with the conviction of Conan, the bass is quick and bludgeoning and the vocals are as aggressive as they get. The songs are short and intense with the average time being around the three minute mark and in this period the band unleashes Hell.
The riffs on Hate Campaign pack a real punch to them with a guitar tone that has a lot of bite to it. When the band are not thundering along with tremolo picked lines, power chords and pinch harmonics are the main course in a manner similar to that of Cryptopsy's None So Vile. As soon as the brief spell of senseless noise that opens Suicidal Revelations ends, the guitarists release some of the crunchiest riffs in their catalogue upon the listener's ears. One of the riffs to this particular song will give fond memories of one particular riff from At The Gates' Blinded By Fear only a little more technical. This is an area the band vastly improved on for this album. Whereas Like An Ever Flowing Stream and many of their other albums were not particularly complex in the guitar department, the band has stepped their creative freedom up to make some more intricate riffs that stand out. Whilst this is no Whisper Supremacy in technicality it sure has a lot more to it than the band's previous album.
The vocals are one of the more astonishing features of this album due to the vocalists insistance on making every word more than intelligable. The lyrics are not overly thought provoking but the force behind the vocal work keeps you interested. There is a little hardcore influence in the vocal performance with the bellowing nature of them and yet the vocalist maintains a low pitch to his voice throughout. The speed that this album moves along at is also really rather amazing. For much of the duration of Hate Campaign, Dismember thunder along at a thousand miles an hour, only stopping for the more groovy moments of songs such as Enslaved To Bitterness to keep some variety to the album. The band's insistance on retaining one speed almost exclusively is something that really works in the album's favor as it feels consistently heavy and intense and knocks the wind from your lungs. The tremolo picking and blast beats may get a little tiring after a while but they sure as hell give this album a frantic feel to them.
The one major problem with Hate Campaign is that it ends on such an underwhelming note. Whilst the pacing gets a little dull toward the latter half, it at least kept the album feeling furiously angry. When one hears the bass solo that opens up the closing song and the groovy riff that follows they would be forgiven for thinking that the longest song has potential to be the best. Then the band seamingly throw the song down the drain with the worst verse riff on the album and one of the worst riffs they have ever written. There is no place on Hate Campaign for such a dull and snooze-inducingly slow riff as the one in the verse to the title track. It then takes it until the extended solo at 3:36 to actually leak one decent moment. Even the solo to this song really isn't all that special however as it feels restrained to keep in time to the droning pace that the song seems determined to be trapped in. The band could have let the fantastic In Death's Cold Embrace finish the album off. That would have been the best choice with its marvelous display of lightning fast pace, but they had to add in five minutes of pointless garbage.
Hate Campaign was a solid effort from Dismember albeit one that feels anticlimatic due to the piss poor closing track. Had the title track been cut then this could arguably rival the legendary Like An Ever Flowing Stream as the best album the band has put out. Sadly it feels like a case of close, but no cigar.