HATE ETERNAL – Fury & Flames

Fury & Flames, HATE ETERNAL‘s latest onslaught, is easily the band’s most aggressive and complex to date. From the scorching opener “Hell Envenom” to the somber, haunting passages on album closer “Coronach,” Fury & Flames is a challenging, albeit at times, overwhelming listening experience. Aiding mainman Erik Rutan in his mission is a virtual supergroup of underground metal’s finest: Shaune Kelley (RIPPING CORPSE, DIM MAK) on second guitars, Alex Webster (CANNIBAL CORPSE) on bass, along with newcomer Jade Simonetto (CAMILLA RHODES) on drums. Despite such a strong pool of talent, not one member seems to outshine the other on the album, but it isn’t for lack of trying, as the four shredders attack their instruments like madmen. They play as if their lives depended on it, creating highlights for both themselves and the album at hand. Webster’s intricate, almost classically-inspired bass playing creates an almost orchestral feel to the album. Rutan and Kelley trade off twisted, dissonant chords and melodic passages with ease, complemented nicely by some incendiary solos that burn up the fretboards. Meanwhile, newcomer Jade Simonetto is a monster, playing with what seems to be octuple limbs. The man unleashes flurries of blast beats, fills and double-bass throughout the album with virtually no respite. As the speeds on the album reach ridiculous tempos at times, the listener might miss some of the album’s more clever surprises. But therein lies the greatness of Fury & Flames in that it offers frequent repeat listening to catch some of the subtleties that the listener may have missed during the initial barrage. At times, Fury & Flames is so over the top in its intention and delivery but it’s a credit to Rutan‘s ability as a producer to rein in each member’s performance for maximum efficiency. All in all, the album is a violent, emotional release with strong attention to detail and execution. HATE ETERNAL has set a benchmark for the world of extreme music, that the competition will spend the rest of the year trying to match. (Metal Blade Records)