Hate Eternal
Fury & Flames

The fourth album from Erik Rutan and his revamped Hate Eternal line-up is somewhat of a double edged sword. On one hand, the aptly titled Fury & Flames is arguably one of the most murderously heavy and uncompromising death metal albums ever recorded. On the other hand, it’s virtually unlistenable in long doses or at loud volumes.

The main culprit of both factors is Erik Rutan’s production. It’s as if he channeled every negative comment about the clicky, triggered sounds of the last three albums and delivered a HUGE fuck you to everyone that questioned prior Hate Eternal productions. Folks, this is a fucking savage production. Impossibly so at times. It’s so over the top at every level, that riffs and notes are just unfathomable under the wall of guitars and utterly merciless drum sound. Picking out actual riffs and notes is akin to being under a massive rock slide; there’s 1000lb and 2000lb boulders careening towards you, and you might occasionally notice one, for fear of being crushed, but the whole time your are being pelted with hundreds of 5lb and 10lb pebbles that rip you to shreds. On every stereo system I listened to Fury & Flames on, I had to crank down the bass to make my stereo listenable and to prevent my tympanic membrane shattering.

And that’s a bit of a shame because the new members of the band seem to have upped the already stellar musicianship laid down by previous members (i.e Derek Roddy, Jared Anderson, Tim Yeung, etc). Veteran bassist Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse) actually has some audible bass work, while newcomer drummer Jade Simonetto delivers a simply stunning performance, though it’s often washed out by the production.

Song wise, it’s still Hate Eternal, which is to stay Rutan is still plying his form of blistering and blast beat fueled Deicide and Morbid Angel on steroids and crack, but partially due to the production, there’s a tangible, palpable ferocity on the album that few bands have ever managed to capture. There’s few respites from the storm, and while the recent death of former band mate Jared Anderson weighed heavily on Rutan’s mind while writing for this album, it’s unleashed in a furious tide of sonically ravaging blast beats and demonic layered vocals rather than cathartic moments of retrospection. Only atmospheric closer “Coronarch” lets up from the sheer, teeth rattling and oppressive pace of “Whom Gods May Destroy”, “Para Bellum”, “Bringer of Storms”, “The Funerary March”, “Proclamation of the Damned” and “Fury Within”, which can only be described as sonic forces of nature in their unrelenting, punishing display of power.

Penultimate track “Tombeau (Le Tombeau De La Fureur et Des Flames)” provides a few moments of lurching restraint (and I use the term very loosely) before the thankful closer, resulting in one of those rare albums that will leave you truly exhausted at its conclusion, but not due to its clever song writing, but the sheer swathe of destruction it will wreak on your ears, brain and filings. Fury & Flames is one of those albums where I can’t really remember much of it, but I know I have beaten mercilessly and being the masochist that all metal heads are-I want more.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 21st, 2008

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