Hate - Erebos
Listenable Records
Death Metal
10 songs (48:13)
Release year: 2010
Hate, Listenable Records
Reviewed by Goat

It must be hard being Adam The First Sinner, snappily-titled frontman of twenty-year-old Polish Death Metal troupe Hate. For years, they’ve been overshadowed by the gargantuan beast that is their fellow Polish bands like Vader and Behemoth, playing what is, if not quite the same then a very similar style of Death Metal, and arguably doing it better. Whilst in the past the boundaries have been clearer (Hate being closer to Deicidey Death Metal than Behemoth’s Blackened approach or Vader’s style) it now appears from a listen to Erebos that if you mixed up a bunch of Behemoth and Hate songs into a playlist, I doubt even Nergal or ATF Sinner could tell which were which every time. Heck, Hate even wear those leather skirt things in promo shots! Having added Black over the years to their post-Deicide sound, they now appear to be in the same place as Behemoth’s Death-enhanced Black. But the exact moment when the exact sound that is generally known and loved as Behemothic was created and who by will remain forever in the realms of the nerdier and nastier than I. What matters is that Hate are very good at this blackened death thing, and given the choice between Erebos and the last album from Behemoth, Evangelion, I would be pretty torn, and might even pick Erebos.

It’s hard to sum up why exactly without talking a lot about Behemoth, and I prefer to talk about what Erebos is rather than it isn’t, so let’s focus on Hate. This is an extraordinarily good album, with excellent, complex yet not impenetrable songs and admirably technical musical performances. It’s easily the best material I’ve heard from Hate, despite the likes of the Industrial-enhanced Anaclasis from 2005 being very good and deserving their day in the archives. Professionalism is all over the place, even intro Genesis having a wonderfully ominous vibe with ambience and acoustics building up to Lux Aeterna’s technical explosion, stop-start riff patterns and multi-limbed ethnic-tinged drum blasts reverberating before ATF Sinner’s growling starts. It’s a pretty damn near perfect bit of Death Metal, well-placed soloing, atmospheric effects tucked nicely in the background, progressing as it goes without indulging itself or being repetitive, remembering to be catchy and with plenty of Nile influence notable in the guitars and snakelike cymbal pattering for the chin-strokers. It was the first track I heard from Erebos, and it’s still my favourite.

Not that the rest of the album goes downhill, far from it. Quintessence Of Higher Suffering focuses on the band’s catchy side, after a short build-up introducing a wonderfully Gojira-esque groovy riff that bends and curves around before dumping you in a slow-motion breakdown that’s halfway through before you even notice it. There are many subtle strayings from the Behemothic path, some of which are only notable on repeated listens – the persistent underlying melody to Trinity Moons, for example, before the devastating series of mini-explosions into Death Metal wonder. Throughout, Hexen’s drumming is especially impressive, moving between technical percussive patterns and light-speed blasting. They’re put to good use on the insidious Transsubstance, something like Chimaira if they fully lived up to potential, allowing the drums to take the lead whilst the guitars form atmospheric walls with the electronics. Hexagony, meanwhile, could have come from the last Nile album, devastating force and power channelled into the riffs and percussion with a nicely mellow centre section.

Of course, it’s hard to escape the sheer Behemothian nature of the likes of Hero Cults. The rampaging speed of, say, Luminous Horizon is impossible to mistake as being similar to many other bands, despite the clear differences and sense of desperate impending doom. Yet Hate are much more than a tribute act, and don’t deserve to be treated like one – Erebos is the culmination of a long and proud career spent toiling without reward, forging the band’s place in extreme metal history and making some damn good Death Metal at the same time. Ultimately, so what if their path has taken them close to Behemoth’s, when they’re this good at it? The silver lining to Nergal’s current illness may be that Hate finally get some attention from the metal world... if you are a fan of Behemoth, or of Death Metal in general (and who isn’t?) you should wrap your ears around Erebos post-haste.

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Killing Songs :
Lux Aeterna, Quintessence Of Higher Suffering, Trinity Moons, Transsubstance, Hexagony, Luminous Horizon
Goat quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Hate that we have reviewed:
Hate - Solarflesh reviewed by Tony and quoted 92 / 100
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