Hate Eternal

Fury and Flames

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Although the Scandinavian countries have been dominating death metal and black metal for a long time, one shouldn't forget that many of the early death metal bands came out of the United States -- and one of North America's extreme metal pioneers was Erik Rutan, who was playing death metal and grindcore in the band Ripping Corpse as early as 1987 and continued in that vein in the '90s and 2000s with Hate Eternal -- all of which in addition to his contributions to Morbid Angel. Hate Eternal have had their share of lineup changes since the band's formation in 1997 (which is certainly not unusual for a death metal/grindcore combo), and on Fury and Flames, the outfit unveils a new lineup consisting of Rutan on lead vocals and guitar, Shaune Kelley (another ex-member of Ripping Corpse) on guitar, Alex Webster (known for his contributions to Cannibal Corpse) on bass, and Jade Simonetto on drums. Of the four, Rutan is the only one who was part of Hate Eternal's original lineup, but all those personnel changes haven't changed their sound. Rutan, after all, is the brains behind Hate Eternal; the band has always been the brainchild of Rutan, who is known for liking his metal bombastic, harsh, dense, and ultra-fast. That has been Rutan's mindset since the Ripping Corpse days, and he maintains his unapologetic viciousness on Fury and Flames. With this early-2007 recording, Hate Eternal provide yet another dose of unforgiving, head-crushing bombast that is usually delivered at breakneck speed. Nothing groundbreaking occurs, and anyone who expects a lot of nuance and melody from death metal should stick to bands like In Flames and At the Gates. But the songs on this album are well executed (never let it be said that Hate Eternal lack chops). And despite the obvious limitations of this approach, Rutan's longtime fans will find Fury and Flames to be a decent, if predictable, exercise in sensory assault for the sake of sensory assault.

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