Hate Eternal - _King of All Kings_
by: Matthias Noll (
It has always been denied, but do not Hate Eternal's album titles really give any hint what Erik Rutan thinks the status of his band should rightfully be? First _Conquering the Throne_ and now, almost logically, _King of All Kings_. The one ruling all those who sit on lesser thrones. Well, at least several kings are allowed to exist in Hate Eternal's world. In the realm of death metal Erik and his gang have of course long left the status of squires and knights and been promoted to full blown lords. But since _High Voltage_ everybody should be aware that it's a fucking long way to the top if you wanna rock 'n' roll. _King of All Kings_ succeeds and fails at the same time. It shifts the boundaries of ultra-extreme, technical and blasting death metal one inch further than other contenders -- Krisiun, for example. Erik also gives proof that he holds a master's degree in writing and playing some of the craziest, most dissonant, intricate and unique riffs out there. The fact that the fast songs he did for Morbid Angel's _Domination_ already displayed his personal style but sound almost wimpy in comparison is testimony to the immense leap he's made since then. Furthermore, a bunch of memorable songs can be found on _KoAK_. Something at which bands like Lux Occulta and many, many others in the extreme metal universe completely fail. Now, if this amounts to all you expect, then _King of All Kings_ might be the current be-all-end-all of extreme death metal. At least until a new album comes along that proves that either Hate Eternal or some other band can blast faster, be more brutal, whatever. There is an obvious desire here to be more extreme than thou, and display brutality for the sake of being brutal; and this single-minded focus is what makes _King of All Kings_ a pretty one-dimensional affair. Simply because everything is said and done after five tracks at most, and, strangely enough, even its playing time of a meagre 30 minutes seems too long. The feeling of listening to something one-dimensional is greatly increased by an extremely flat and compressed production that sounds anything but natural. Now, as you can see from my rating, this still is a good record and better than the debut. Taken for what it really is -- a showcase in brutality -- there are moments where it can be just everything you need in your desire for ten or fifteen minutes of aural butchery. During those moments it might even be a better remedy than the new Nile. The king of all kings certainly is a ruler who knows how to trample and massacre everything in its path -- but also one who lacks most other skills to command a realm other than the kingdom of butchery. I have the feeling that Rutan still has more to offer, and all I need to do to believe that is listen to "Hatework" from Morbid Angel's _Domination_. Maybe next time?
(article published 3/16/2003)
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