2000, Demolition Records
I hadn't heard much about this band before I received this CD, so I didn't really know what to expect. Looking at the cover art first, I was still without a clue as to what kind of music this could be. Featuring a white-eyed cloven-hoofed demon breaking through what could only be a dimensional gate (that, or an attic door) in the best tradition of mid-'80s thrash metal record covers (it looks like a Combat/Metal Blade/Death records release from that time), the lyric booklet design is decidely 'retro' - the music is not, though. Hatred mix together various elements from other death/grind metal bands (yes, there is that aspect: a little derivation, or 'influence' - but how many bands escape that now?) to form a virulent new combination of battering brutal set-pieces to assault your senses. I hear a little Cannibal Corpse in here, a smidgen of Carcass, a pinch of Dying Fetus in the pulverising rhythms. For the most part, however, this reaches originality not only in the songwriting department but in the way they combine the different levels of guitar music: in addition to the rapidly-changing or cycling of rhythm riffs there is the lead guitar, which is almost constantly adding in textures through phased/modulated fret runs and creative solo work. Besides the vocals, I think that the lead guitar display on this record is the most impressive feature. About the vocals: no real death grunting here or growling - no, for the most part the vocalist/lead guitarist Tim Clayborne screams in the most bestial and vicious voice he can probably manage. His high screams, moans, snarls, and shouts are in a different tradition: almost a black metal influence, you could say, or a throwback to older metal bands like Hexx or early Sadus. You know who he really reminds me of? Pest, from Gorgoroth. He takes it clean on the morose 'Trust No One', and his vocals can not be faulted here either. The rhythm guitarist Joe Jablonski, does his part by offering some backing vocals in rapid trade-offs with Tim. The drumming on this record, in addition, is out of the ordinary and very atypical as the man behind the skins, David Castillo, is never really content to just provide a solid backbeat or series of syncopated rhythms for the guitars - instead he swings through different styles, tempos, and beats while doing his best to break up the progression of the music through different fill techniques. He shows a high level of energy, skill, and determination on this recording. Excellent.
Ultimately I would recommend this CD for the death metal maniacs out there who are looking for something a little more original than the common run of American bands. This is a very good debut from a promising and talented group who are not afraid of showing a wide range of influences in their music, and I hope to hear more from them in the future.