Hate Eternal - I, Monarch
Earache Records
Death Metal
10 songs (42:29)
Release year: 2005
Hate Eternal, Earache Records
Reviewed by Aaron

Hate Eternal have some sort of odd domination fixation (hey, it rhymes!). Conquering the ThroneKing of all Kings… and now I, Monarch,. Anyone else sense a theme?

But to be honest, I believe that it may be an elaborate metaphor. For one, it could be taken as their so-called domination of the death metal scene. Conquering the Throne as a form of ascent unto the plateau of excellence, King of all Kings as a form of holding fast to what allowed them to ascend in the first place, and I, Monarch as a declaration of purpose, that they are willing to do what it takes to keep the throne, because they see themselves as those destined to hold it. Monarchs. Representations of the divine order whose right –nay, purpose- it is to govern and rule.

Okay, sorry, I was rambling there. I wanted to go through two paragraphs of a Hate Eternal review without mentioning Morbid Angel, and I managed that. So enough of that, and now to start talking about the music.

Hate Eternal have a similar sound to Blessed are the Sick-era Morbid Angel, so if you dislike that, don’t bother. For those intrigued, read on.

The similar sound lies in all the elements of the band: from the vocals, to the drumming, to the guitar sound/production. The vocalist evokes David Vincent, with a sort of gravelly sound that distinguishes him from the aforementioned. The drumming is in the style but not the spirit of Pete Sandoval, relying way more on blastbeats than Pete ever did, but still doing the razor-sharp precision death metal drumming that reflects off the riffs (listening to the drum tracks alone, I would bet that seasoned death metal veterans would be able to know what riffs are playing and what they sound like). The riffs are that muddy-fuzz that we all know and love so much from Blessed are the Sick and subsequent releases, made different by a series of odd, dissonant sounds that Hate Eternal have decided to incorporate into their tracks. Think of how (I’m sorry about all these comparisons) Morbid Angel would sound if Trey Azagthoth had two guitars that either both teamed up occasionally or played completely different riffs both at once. The result is rather interesting, but coupled with the limitations of this style, may just have been an attempt to disguise the lack of progression in this band since their debut. Regardless, I enjoy it, it reminds me of the compositional ideas in that Alice in Chains song, Grind, elaborated upon.

Anyway, one thing this band does do is write killer songs, backed up by pristine production that will let you see the monstrous fist that this is this album crush your body into so many bloody gibbets of ruined flesh. The drums are the best part of the mix: finding that hard-to-reach symmetry between under- and over- production.

The aforementioned killer songs are scattered liberally over the album. After the unrelenting but sadly uninteresting Two Demons, arises the first one, Behold Judas. Starting out with a cool uneven riff that wavers between up and down directions, it blasts into a veritable riff salad of blackmetalish tremolo picking and aggressive groove, along with some great screaming backup vocals from the bassist that add to the boring lead vocals, and then we get that weird grindcore chaos that suddenly pops out of nowhere, right in the middle of an Azagthoth influenced solo. One of the best songs on the album for certain.

Another excellent song pops up rather soon, in the form of To Know Our Enemies, which starts with a back-and-forth crushing riff that smoothly skips into some oddly uplifting melodies backed up by sensible drumming from Roddy and climaxes into a slow and beautiful solo, almost sensuously. The didgeridoo used here helps in building black metal atmospherics that are stunning in composition and execution.

As usual, the title track absolutely rules, just like it did on the last two releases. Symphony and variation is used to excess here in the chorus, and it once again provides an excellent balance. Also of special note is the final track, a death metal instrumental which utilizes ‘human bone flutes,’ and has some rocklike riffs that are an absolute delight.

Perhaps I, Monarch is a reference to the strength needed to hold a kingdom together, the fact that you must balance everything? It would explain the album, which is just one big equilibrium. Groove is matched with punch, punch with passion, passion with power, and power with diversity. In the end, you get a sometimes monotonous, rarely boring, but conceptually and musically interesting, and overall great, but not brilliant, death metal album.

Buy it.

Killing Songs :
Behold Judas, To Know Our Enemies, I Monarch, Path to the Eternal Gods, Faceless One
Aaron quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Hate Eternal that we have reviewed:
Hate Eternal - Phoenix Amongst the Ashes reviewed by Tony and quoted 51 / 100
Hate Eternal - The Fury and Flames reviewed by Dylan and quoted 48 / 100
Hate Eternal - King Of All Kings reviewed by Crims and quoted 80 / 100
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