Review Summary: Although not exactly breaking any new ground, [i]Infernus[/i] is a brilliant amalgamation of Hate Eternal's previous work, and one of the best death metal releases of 2015 so far.
"Hate Eternal" is a name that most of us death metal fans are familiar with. Throughout the years, they have always been one of the few death metal bands who we can consistently count on to deliver solid release after solid release. After 2005's Monarch
, we saw Hate Eternal branch out and drastically change their signature sound. In 2008, the group released the critically acclaimed Fury & Flames
, which many avid fans considered to be the magnum opus of Hate Eternal's work. In 2011, the band delivered Phoenix Amongst the Ashes
, which is undeniably a great album, but it just wasn't able to meet the bar which was set so extraordinarily high by their previous effort. So, now, in 2015, with a brand new Hate Eternal album released, one lingering question remains; is Infernus
Able to live up to the greatness of Fury & Flames
" Well, not quite, but it's doubtlessly a fantastic album, and one that easily surpasses Phoenix Amongst the Ashes
I feel like I've been referencing Hate Eternal's previous work too much, so at this point, I'll just shut the hell up and tell you about the actual album itself. As soon as you hear the furious drum fill and the bone-chilling scream that encompass the first few seconds of the opening track, you know what you're in for. Blazing fast blast beats and drum fills accompany dissonant riffs throughout the entirety of the first track, and for most of the entire album for that matter. After only a couple of songs, I noticed that the riffs were some of the most unique and heavy that I'd heard from the band in a long time. Chords are rarely implemented into the leads, which is surprising, considering the fact that the album is so remarkably heavy. The chugging rhythm section accents the technical riffs that the lead guitar is playing, allowing for a perfect balance between technicality and easy listening (relatively speaking of course, since this is most likely the opposite of easy listening to anyone who isn't an experienced death metal fan).
From the opening of Locust Swarm
to the ending of O Majestic Being, Hear My Call
, the unrelenting drums rarely let up. Constant blast beats and double bass are used in excess, and while adding to the general heaviness of the album, it can admittedly get boring after a while. The fills are also exceptionally technical, which add a nice touch to the end of a long phrase. This is especially noticeable in tracks like Chaos Theory
, which are slower paced and more groove oriented rather than speed oriented. Now, in terms of the mixing of the drums, I'm gonna pull a Fenriz and say I'm relieved that none of the drums are clicky-sounding. Many modern death metal bands want to play extremely fast double bass, but they don't realize that in order to do that, the actual bass in the bass drum is going to need to be somewhat removed for each individual hit to be audible. The result is usually a bass drum that doesn't sound too far from hitting the ends of your fingers on a wooden table top. Surprisingly, the drums in this album are mixed almost flawlessly, allowing for crystal clear double bass that packs a punch, and audible toms and cymbals.
I can't really decide whether I like the overall production of this album or not, mainly for one reason; the drums and guitar tones are brutal, but the bass is barely audible. I don't really view this as too much of a problem, seeing as how the heaviness is mostly created by the guitars and drums anyways, but the production overall just seems thinner with the bass being lost in the mix. It's definitely a bummer, because I feel like the bass lines are probably fairly good, assuming that they follow in the same vein as the guitars. This may just be me being extremely picky, but I really wish that the bass was more prominent in the mix.
is a terrific release from the death metal behemoth that is Hate Eternal. If you're a fan of the bands previous work, I can almost certainly guarantee that you'll find this album to be significantly more than pleasing. Like I said earlier, I don't think that this release can quite live up to the band's fourth effort, but I can also confidently say that it surely comes in second place in terms of the bands complete discography.
- Technicality not used in excess
- Great riffing
- Rhythm section fits leads perfectly
- Perfect length
- Drumming can get a bit monotonous
- The bass is almost lost entirely in the mix
- Most of the album is right around the same tempo, with the exception of a couple of songs
- The Stygian Deep
- Zealot, Crusader of War
- O Majestic Being, Hear My Call