Hate Eternal - _I, Monarch_
(Earache Records, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (
When it comes to non-stop aggression and an almost bullheaded predilection for speed, there aren't a whole lot of names in the death metal genre that can go toe to toe to Eric Rutan's Hate Eternal. Trouble is that for consistently engaging songs and truly memorable albums, the band have thus far fallen by the wayside to some extent. That's not to say that records like _King of All Kings_ weren't up to snuff; Hate Eternal's appeal just seemed to wane dramatically after their initial impact had worn off. The good news is that _I, Monarch_ could prove to be the exception, and with Rutan getting all experimental on us, it's clear that the need for invention was at the forefront of the recording process this time around. Subsequently, tracks like "To Know Our Enemies" and "Sons of Darkness" stun the listener with all manner of surprises, including the use of a didgeridoo and a very sinister sounding set of tribal drums. Yet _I, Monarch_ is no _Roots_; this is a relentlessly brutal record which easily eclipses anything the band has done before for sheer heaviness. Moreover, _I, Monarch_ sheds the remaining residue of Rutan's alma mater, leaving the band sounding more distinct and removed from Morbid Angel than ever before. Which is just as well, because with the likes of Nile and Immolation currently making headway in a scene that's probably more buoyant than it's ever been, anything less than an album of this quality would have seen Hate Eternal destined for the great death metal scrapheap.
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