Hate Eternal
Upon Desolate Sands


3.6
great

Review

by Gameofmetal STAFF
October 27th, 2018 | 40 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There’s a lot to like about Hate Eternal’s latest bundle of savage, yet precise death metal unless you have an urge for something more adventurous.

In hindsight, I think I was a bit harsh on Morbid Angel’s 2017 comeback record, Kingdoms Disdained, and in a probably less shocking than it should have been twist, it’s Hate Eternal that have made me realize it. Frankly, Upon Desolate Sands is Kingdoms Disdained done right. While it does make me appreciate the latter a bit more in retrospect, it also highlights the integral issues still present there. Hate Eternal package up a very similar death metal epic with their latest, characterized by meat grinder compositional efficiency and tonal barbarism, but with the (somewhat) subtle dynamics and consistent songwriting that was missing with the death metal giants’ reappearance.

The narrative of Hate Eternal to now is that their career has been that of a consistently “good but not great” band whose musical progression has been measured in inches instead of miles. 2015’s Infernus was a slightly different story, demonstrating a significant jump in terms of overall quality. It wasn’t a showcase for dramatic improvement in any one area, but was punctuated with little leaps in many areas (production, composition, dynamics, restraint, etc.). That said, through now seven albums their path has been a short one from being an alright death metal band to being a truly good death metal band. And that is where Upon Desolate Sands leaves us; stranded in a humble little oasis in the midst of the desert that Hate Eternal will seemingly never escape.

I don’t know if that totally made sense, but the point is that Hate Eternal once again made micro improvements with an enjoyable sound while solidifying the fact that they will probably never become more than what they are. There is much to love in the savage precision and razor sharp grooves that exist in every single song here. Erik Rutan’s guttural growls burst through the tumult of beefy guitars and blistering drums with a Godzilla like presence, a volcano of primal force amidst a world being brought down to ashes. The production, while not the most organic thing on the planet, puts a lot of heft behind all the instruments and everything that needs to be heard clearly, can be heard clearly. There is no hint of inconsistency within the album, because every song is the same meticulous exercise of Hate Eternal’s sound. That does not have to be a bad thing. People speak of albums interchangeably as though perfectly distinct songs is the ideal of every artist and style, but within the bounds of a group like Hate Eternal I'm not looking for that. I want a succinct collection of barbaric death metal songs and that’s what has been delivered.

In a way, Hate Eternal are kind of the quintessential everyman if the quintessential everyman was a death metal band. They’re not exceptional. Indeed, they’re exceptionally unexceptional. It’s a 9-5 job with these guys, but a healthy one, a 9-5 job that is satisfying enough to empower them to take a few small steps forward every once in a while. And the exceptional, essential kicker with the everyman is that sometimes he’ll traipse into a story unexpectedly and put a god to shame.



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user ratings (67)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2018


10511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Get Azagthoth on this bish to throw down some solos and a riff or two and it’s GOAT death metal tbh.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2018


9384 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah this was definitely solid enough

SomeGuyDude
October 28th 2018


374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's weird to knock an album for not being adventurous enough when they pretty much bullseye what they were aiming to do.

Also holy shit this was a good week for death metal.

Hawks
October 28th 2018


68359 Comments


Gotta jam this. Band rules.

Digging: Akasha - Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity

TheNotrap
October 28th 2018


9858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

From what I've heard so far, Infernus is more interesting.



Good to see a Staff review of a new metal release.

Digging: Venom Prison - Samsara

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2018


10511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

I didn’t think that I did knock them for not being adventurous. I judged it for what it was and the summary is just to identify it for what it is to people that may be looking for something outside the box

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2018


9384 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good to see a Staff review of a new metal release.




Aren’t their staffed metal reviews all the time though?

Dettlaff
October 28th 2018


193 Comments


"There’s a lot to like about Hate Eternal’s latest bundle of savage"

I think you meant 'savagery', otherwise this doesn't make sense

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2018


9384 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It does if you don’t cut the sentence halfway...

Dettlaff
October 28th 2018


193 Comments


Lmao that's my bad, this page didn't load properly on my crappy phone, I thought that was the end of the summary

lalchimiste
October 28th 2018


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know I've jammed this like 4-5 times since it's release and it's way more memorable than MA's latest. I agree that they share similarities sonically (Rutan's involvement in Steve Tucker-era MA + he produced Kingdoms), but I feel this is just unhinged brutal dm with some sick angular riffing. I think he did a good job on the mixing here with a good balance for all instruments/vox, and the mastering is standard modern stuff but still not too loud to be annoying.

Digging: Wake - Misery Rites

Anthracks
October 28th 2018


6271 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

their worst album

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 29th 2018


10511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

That's an interesting take, I don't think I'd ever repeat listen to anything besides this or Infernus, the rest of their stuff is just perpetually ok DM to me.

BigPleb
October 29th 2018


57460 Comments


Rutan is the man.

Digging: Faith No More - King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime

lalchimiste
October 29th 2018


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

feels like he background listened 3/4 of it, insta 2.5 and went "shit album sux" to me cause this is as strong as Infernus if not better

lalchimiste
October 29th 2018


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Slapping a 4.0 on this. As you said, it might not push boundaries of dm or try to mash 15 subgenres into it but goddamn it's solid. At times it's borderline slam, other times it riffs with the best Azagtoth has to offer while keeping a good balance in dissonance to melody ratios in both rhythm and lead guitars.

Anthracks
October 30th 2018


6271 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

wow people really throw the word slam out there without having a fucking clue what they're talking about huh

lalchimiste
October 30th 2018


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It seems you didn't grasp the nuance of labelling something "borderline". I was more reffering to the use of chromatic mode/weird harmonization/trem runs and production aesthetic than the low-ass vox/forensics-gore lyrics and breakdowns of slam but I guess I was not overtly explicit. And maybe that refers more to BDM than slam but whatever

Anthracks
October 30th 2018


6271 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

oyea my fault for you not knowing what slam is. I just didn't understand that what you were really saying is you have no idea what you're talkin about, but I know now. thanks for educating my teensy brain friend.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2018


24956 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you stay getting mad over slam comments lmao i feel like it's 2007 in here

Digging: Akasha - Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity



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