Review Summary: Modern death metal how it should be done, with some insanely tight instrumental work and one of the most chaotic vocal performances in the genre.
With a discography in which they seldom put a foot wrong, it is hard to really name one Hate album that stands out as the best. Each of their albums is full of nothing but top-notch death metal with brutal riffing and lightning fast drumming with vocals that sound like Satan cumming, so to call one album their "best" is really difficult. However, Awakening The Liar sticks out to many as being the strongest collection of tracks that Hate have put out to date, solidifying their status as one of the most under-appreciated bands in the death metal genre.
Everything that Hate embody is perfectly displayed on this release and it shows just why their discography is held in such high regard in the most underground parts of the death metal community. The vocals are absolutely chaotic, the drum performance is a scintillating display in how to write death metal drum parts, the bass is all over the place and the guitars go for the throat with some incredible riffs and monstrous solos. The title track best displays this with the jaw-dropping drumming in the introduction and the consistently powerful riffs that are likely to shake the Earth with the magnitude of their ability to blow the listener away. Hate really were not messing around with Awakening The Liar at all, and this song shows why. The solo is perhaps the best one here, although they are all fantastic, with its ridiculously quick runs up the fret board.
One of the absolute best things about Hate's 2003 outing is the production job. Every instrument is perfectly mixed and has a thick enough sound that this feels crushing throughout. The bass is utterly amazing and the guitar tones are outstanding here. Never in all of death metal can I remember hearing a modern production job that actually suits the music this well. Beefy production jobs may have suited releases such as Suffocation's Effigy Of The Forgotten, but this crisp and up-to-date wall of sound production is the best possible type for an album like this where there is so much going on at once. The two guitar tracks weave together to create a picture of the apocalypse in ways that many bands could scarcely dream of. The structures here are perfect, with Immolate The Pope showing the constantly evolving nature of this release. Twists and turns are in abundance on these tracks, taking the listener on a ride unlike any you will have heard before.
Close To The Nephilim is probably the strongest song on Awakening The Liar, and is a lesson for all wannabe death metal acts of today in how to write music for this genre properly. It begins with some faint sounds of wind blowing in a very creepy, Silent Hill-sounding manner, before a tremolo picked line becomes audible and then the band throws the listener in at the deep end with some well-timed blast beats that are mechanical in how tight they are and make an unbelievably strong back drop for the rest of the instruments. The real best thing about this track however is the meaty riff the closes it that jumps between chords and tremolo picking, with a sweet bass line backing it for maximum effect. It is brilliant moments such as this that makes Hate's music stand out so much. Even their break down sections such as on a couple of the later songs on the album really do not detract from the music in the same vein that a Bring Me The Horizon or A Day To Remember breakdown would.
Awakening The Liar is a strikingly strong, consistent display of how death metal should be written properly. This is a tightly performed release flooded by an influx of incredibly quick fully triggered blast beats, fast bass work and magnificent guitar work, and each track is a masterpiece in its own right.