"Fury and Flames" (Metal Blade; 2008)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

About fifteen years ago, the label "death metal" meant pretty much one thing and that was an aggressive style that plowed straight ahead while being accompanied by definitive growling type vocals. Like most genres and sub-genres, death metal seems to have expanded over the years as we now have the likes of "melodic death," "technical death" and various other labels now falling under this once singular heading. 

Oftentimes, it's great to progress but addressing the basics and pushing them to their fullest can work too and that's what Hate Eternal have done with their latest offering. "Fury and Flames" is about as crushing as it is relentless in this celebration of raw brutality. There is little build-up or technical flaunting, but there is no time or reason for it when you are able to produce a blistering mountain of sound like this release. 

One of my biggest problems with death metal is the all too common feeling that the songs blend together and have a lack of personality. Although there is a definite sameness in style to most of the tracks here, I think they easily avoid that trap because they have manage to give the songs enough of their own identity and each one sweeps you under as they plunge forward. 

The vocals are the traditional death metal style, but they very much complement the music and fluctuate enough as needed. 

I don't think Hate Eternal are doing anything that's terribly different but, when everything they are doing tramples your senses, then originality doesn't matter a whole lot in the long run. If you are looking for melodies and virtuoso flashes then you will have to search elsewhere, but if you are in need of a straight ahead massive assault then you are in luck.

For more information visit http://www.myspace.com/haeteternal

"King of All Kings" (Earache Records; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Despite his busy career (Hate Eternal, Alas, Morbid Angel, and producing other band's records) Erik Rutan has found time to create another set of death metal songs under the Hate Eternal banner. While I listened to Hate Eternal's debut "Conquering The Throne" with open ears I often found myself wavering between the polar opposites of whether Hate Eternal was really providing something new to the metal genre or just playing the same tired riffs at an increased tempo. In the end Hate Eternal's technical skills and fresh approach won me over; with the exception of any Nile CD, "Conquering The Throne" became one of my favorite brutal death metal CDs.

So the big question was whether or not Hate Eternal's latest disc "King Of All Kings" would offer anything new. It does. There isn't much room for improvement over the dastardly and insane technicality of "Conquering The Throne," but "King Of All Kings" raises the ante ever so slightly. Not enough to warrant an additional half-chainsaw to get to the coveted four-chainsaw rating, but an improvement nonetheless. Most of the improvement comes from the addition of Derek Roddy behind the drum kit.

After the ominous intro "Our Beckoning" Hate Eternal blast into the title track doing what they do best - playing relentless brutal death metal that does not forgive and doesn't forget. A track-by-track listing won't really do any good here. It's safer to say that if you liked "Conquering The Throne" then you'll really like "King Of All Kings" as well. If you are not a fan of the brutal death metal genre it suffices to say that Hate Eternal, along with Morbid Angel, would be one of the few bands that could change your mind. Compared to "Conquering The Throne," in my honest opinion, "King Of All Kings" has a better flow to it. The songs are a bit longer this time around and it gives more time for each track to become more fully developed and is indicative of Hate Eternal evolving into a sound that is truly their own and not derivative of all those that have come before them.

While I am no expert on brutal death metal, "King Of All Kings" sounds to me that it is a better than average attempt to breathe some life into the often less than impressive brutal death metal genre. And since Rutan has decided to make Hate Eternal his number one priority after leaving the Morbid Angel fold, it should give him the necessary time and focus to solidify Hate Eternal's status as one of the leaders in the brutal death metal genre.

"King Of All Kings" was produced by Erik Rutan. The production is perfect for a brutal death metal CD - clean enough to hear what's going on yet dirty enough to express the power and energy that only the elite in the brutal death metal scene can do.

Hate Eternal is Erik Ruatan on guitars and lead vocals, Jared Anderson on bass, and Derek Roddy on drums.

For more information visit http://www.myspace.com/haeteternal

"Conquering the Throne" (Earache Records/ Wicked World; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Erik Rutan, stepping out from the large shadow cast by Morbid Angel, takes his own path to the brutal death metal style by leading his new band Hate Eternal on the band's debut "Conquering The Throne."

The eleven tracks on "Conquering The Throne" clock in at just under 34 minutes with only one song cracking the four-minute barrier. So it goes without saying that Hate Eternal give their brutality quick notice and get in and out of their songs with little fanfare despite the high level of technicality exhibited throughout. In the end though, "Conquering The Throne" is a very solid effort that forces me to reconsider my perceptions of what the brutal death metal genre has to offer.

Rutan handles the vocals and does a competent job. I'll never be a fan of the grunted brutal death metal vocal style, but Rutan's vocals are at least tolerable due to their being in a bit of a higher register (relatively speaking) than most brutal death vocalists I've heard. Rutan takes a hint from the brutal death master Trey Azagthoth with many of his surreal solos echoing the Azagthoth sound; "Dogma Condemned" and "Darkness By Oath" are two particular highlights of this approach.

Overall, "Conquering The Throne" lacks any sort of order or flow; one could seemingly put the songs in any order and get the same effect. I do find it interesting that the CD has a sound-effect of a nuclear explosion for sonic bookends which seems all the more fitting given the explosive and volatile nature of the disc.

Perhaps someone more in tune with the brutal death metal genre would be better at describing Hate Eternal's maelstrom, but this will have to do: "Conquering The Throne," while not groundbreaking, evokes the same kind of feeling as one might get from listening to the classic Slayer disc "Reign In Blood" due to its relentless speed and intensity.

"Conquering The Throne" was produced by Erik Rutan.

Hate Eternal is Erik Ruatan on guitars and lead vocals, Doug Cerrito on guitars, Jared Anderson on bass, and Tim Yeung on drums.

For more information visit http://www.myspace.com/haeteternal

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Jun 2022 15:54:51 -0400 .