1. Two Demons 2. Behold Judas 3. The Victorious Reign 4. To Know Our Enemies 5. I, Monarch 6. Path to the Eternal Gods 7. The Plague of Humanity 8. It Is Our Will 9. Sons of Darkness 10. Faceless One
When a band reaches this type of speed and chaos, arriving at the very height of both at seemingly the exact same time, it leaves the listener a bit overwhelmed. In fact I would say with most of the bands that play these extreme speed fests, they really paint themselves in a corner. With this much speed how much creativity could there be? I mean honestly, how much different flavor can you add in to something moving this fast? And if the speed isn't enough to hold the whole thing back, mix in the idea of having someone try to keep a deeply rumbled voice added to the fast velocity.
Somehow Hate Eternal make it all work out, really in this case going as far as Morbid Angel in the extreme department, approaching light speed at times and completely absorbing the listener in a sinister world of hate filled dread. This fast-becoming legendary act return with record number three, a much anticipated follow-up to their "King Of All Kings" album from 2002. This time around the band have switched bass players, with Jared Anderson out and Randy Piro in. Erik Rutan has taken up the handling of this release as well, mixing and recording the record with mastering done by Alan Douches (Mastodon, Converge).
My main setback with this type of extreme element is the fact that there is very little room for anything different. I've always been a fan of early Sinister, Morbid Angel, and Hypocrisy, so my death metal references are at least legit. However as many fans continue to seek out the most absurd death acts on the planet, I've reserved my little extreme space for very few. I normally make room for two or three of these types of records each year, and with so many folks talking about this new record I've decided to clear my head and open up my mind a bit.
Hate Eternal are really enjoyable here, making "I Monarch" actually appealing on a day to day listen. Never going as far as completely reinventing this sound, the band still makes huge strides in terms of enjoyment and repeated listens. The band have paid great attention to detail, adding in some rather strange and addictive undertones to the other wise factory meat-shop sound. Rutan and company are in full speed mode here, so need to worry about the band slowing down at all. Every song on "I Monarch" is simply blistering, combining the fastest of double bass, blast beats, stomp grooves, technical displays, and bombastic bass lines. Really this band seems to be a showpiece, rivaling that of Rutan's former "kings of death" Morbid Angel. I would say musically speaking Hate Eternal are right on par with that type of sound, but they seem to add in so many small details that serve as ear candy, an important element considering just how fast this record speeds by.
You can hear the most spacey of atmospheric moments deep within "To Know Our Enemies". The same otherworldly effect can be found under the title track. The band make great use of these unique effects to simply add another dimension to their framework, really adding new breath to a rather dismal affair. Rutan proves to be the capable vocalist here, completely dominating everything with his deep throat growls. Drummer Derek Roddy is just a madman behind the kit, going completely off the scale with BPMs and fast feet. Along with the dynamic skill level comes an insane amount of shredding, a very vital part of this band's success.
All in all Hate Eternal have come up with a very entertaining death metal release. In a time where originality and talent seems to take a back stage role to appearance and image, "I Monarch" strives to be so much more. The band have really put in a solid effort here, and with the great attention to detail comes a new love for this extreme standard. Hopefully the band will continue this scorching pace, but still find time to experiment with other avenues within the chaos. For now "I Monarch" is probably one of the finest death metal releases of the year and one that will find the band plenty of stage time this year.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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