HATE ETERNAL - Phoenix Amongst the Ashes CD
Metal Blade Records
Genre: Death Metal
I kinda doubt Erik Rutan cares that his old band (you know who) is putting out their highly anticipated comeback release this year. As for me I was actually looking forward to this one. Now I was kinda wondering when a follow-up to 2008's extremely brutal Fury & Flames, yeah I did praise that one to the high ceiling of hell, would come out. It's obvious Rutan's been kinda busy with other things like producing some of the best death metal releases over the past few years by bands like GOATWHORE, NILE and VITAL REMAINS, just to name a few. Thankfully he found time in between doing amazing things for others to record this also amazing beast. Phoenix Amongst the Ashes, the fifth full length from HATE ETERNAL, is simply another good release from Rutan. His greatest? No that's a toss up between 2005's I Monarch and 1999's Conquering the Throne in my not so humble opinion. So when it comes to this band, consistency rules and naysayers can just shut the fuck up already. I'm about as serious on that last point as the actual opening cut on here, "The Eternal Ruler" will seriously rip your head off. "Rebirth", aptly titled of course, is simply an intro to the wet your chops. Once "The Eternal Ruler" hits you with it's relentless riffage, excellent soloing and of course Rutan's monster vocals you'll forget about the three year wait. I know I did and what follows is "Thorns of Acacia" which continues the brutality. The key is proficiency which is suppose to unlock your brain.
One of the things I always read in reviews of HATE ETERNAL releases is how the critics want progression from them. Just putting out a good sounding intense musical release ain't good enough for some people. If Rutan came out with a more uber technical and progressive release these same critics would complain about it as well. Simply put this band's critics have no credibility what so ever since this is one intense sonovabitch. Personally I thought "The Art of Redemption" is fairly progressive with it's technical intro followed by relentless destruction by six strings of death. Drummer Jade Simonetto displays an incredible workout keeping up the pace set by Rutan. Remember people this guy is one of the greatest Death Metal guitarists of all time. That's not hyperbolic rhetoric again from me either since the editors of Decibel once ranked him at #10 which is not too shabby. While this release progresses onward this does get slightly melodic, slightly, like on the title cut which Rutan simply solos over half of it. After that interlude it's back to the oppressive punishment. "Hatesworn" is a repetitive mid-paced storm of a cut. "Lake Ablaze" is similar with a volley of riffage which really feels like a blazing firestorm. In the end this is all a moot point since consistently good Death Metal is what this is all about. Rutan returns to kick your ass, nuff said.