Tampa, Florida is a legendary city for all things American death metal. One of the bands to spawn from that city is Hate Eternal and they have been consistently releasing some damn good death metal ever since 1999. Their style of songwriting is a mix of groove with unorthodox rhythms and technicality at hellish speeds. Rutan’s vocal work has been steady and powerful since I can remember and this combo of events is what makes Hate Eternal a cut above the rest.
They just keep getting better and better with each release and I think they hit their peak at “Pheonix Amongst The Ashes” in terms of songwriting. However, they have still improved in many ways since 2011. The execution of guitar solos and building atmosphere is one of the biggest upgrades in terms of musicianship. Another massive achievement is the production gets better and better massively, which is a good thing since Erik Rutan produces most of your favorite death metal albums in the past…..20 years.
Everything you could possibly love about this band is presented here in Upon Desolate Sands. Their wicked style of songwriting, the bombastic production and the sheer viciousness of the overall arcing sound delivers on all fronts. From the low range and the mid range, to the screaming highs of the guitars; Hate Eternal brings it all on this one and it’s fucking powerful.
Something uniquely ominous is found within the layers on some of the tracks. The opening sequence of “All Hope Destroyed” for example has this layered riff that just sounds like it came from the depths of hell. The ending of the title track “Upon Desolate Sands” does this as well, combined with the howls of a choir that sounds truly wicked.
All hail Hate Eternal, I always get excited when they release a new album and this one was no different and they blew away all my expectations. Some bands ride a tide of monotonous riffs and vocal layouts but Hate Eternal always finds a way to reinvent themselves even if only by a little bit each time. Definitely their best album they have ever released.
Score: 9 out of 10
Release Date: October 25th 2018
Label: Season of Mist
FFO: Morbid Angel, Krisiun, Nile, Vital Remains and Aeon.