Although 99 percent of Hate Theory's listening audience will consider their self-titled album to be straight death metal, the savage screech of the band's eponymous debut has more than a little in common with the muted riffing of mainstream acts like Korn and Slipknot. Whether it be the similar influences (it seems like all these groups picked up lessons from Sepultura and S.O.D. along the way) or the unavoidable exposure of those bands, the fact is that this is a cross between that mainstream metal throb and the ugly approach of death metal. This mix creates a sludgy, dirty sound that has similarities to groups like Iron Monkey and Bongzilla but has more of a groove than what those bands produce. No matter how you view their sound, one thing is for certain: It is underdeveloped. It isn't that there aren't good ideas here, but the combination of styles blurs the lyrics and hooks to the point that there is only a vague understanding of what constitutes the various verses and choruses here. Even if the music isn't as linear as that, it fails to maintain any qualities that would keep it consistently interesting. A good example is "So You Think," which starts with a slow, chugging riff that supports the unintelligible chanting of singer Jeff Fahl. As it builds, it suddenly stops and presents a new rhythm that is more hip-hopinfluenced but doesn't quite fit what they were doing the moment before. They let that build into something interesting, but then stop it and present yet another riff and rhythm that don't resemble what was just going on. It makes the songs very hard to remember afterwards, and the listener is presented with so many riffs that it becomes hard to differentiate between songs. Hate Theory is traveling a path that should lead to some bright and interesting material, but the bandmembers need to focus their direction more before they can craft the sort of sludge metal classic they have the potential for.
AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano