Hate // Solarflesh
Rating: 2.5/5.0 — A blessing or a curse… you decide.
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: Facebook | MySpace
Release Dates: Out now!

hatesolarcdAs part of the Polish “Big Four” (Decapitated, Vader and Behemoth) I haven’t yet figured out why Hate, with seven hefty albums already under their belts, never quite seem to reach the notoriety of their counterparts, Behemoth (hazarding a guess here, but a lack of court cases maybe?). If you’re like me and far from being one of those sickening, warm, fuzzy morning people, then waking up to some 270 bpm Hate-fully good Polish blackened death metal will probably appeal to you too. Likely, you already know that Hate’s latest offering, Solarflesh is due to hit the shelves this week and that means exciting times for all. Hate’s form of darkly destructive, blackened death has strong influence by the likes of American bands Morbid Angel and Deicide and bears many stylistic similarities to the madness of Vesania, the brutality of Vader, Decap and Massachist and then there’s that confusing instant when a track kicks in I need to double-check whether I’m listening to Behemoth’s Nergal or Hate’s ATF Sinner. Seeing the list of band members from each of these bands will clue you in as to why they have such strong similarities to one another – they share, swap, chop and change their band members [Sounds like a 70s key partySteel “Swinger” Druhm] so often I’d need a ridiculously large white board with suitable diagrammatic representation to plot the scene out effectively (with the week I’ve had, that ain’t gonna happen… deal with it).

Solarflesh opens up in all its elaborate glory with the ominous, plodding, militarian “Watchful Eye of Doom.” Strongly resembling a death march, the track includes contributions by Greek singer Androniki Skoula (Chaostar) and the unusual combination of her Hellenic influence along with the huge drum beat drive up your anticipation levels. Trigger the brutal death metal bloodshed, there’s more to follow – from “Eternal Might” right through to the last note on “Mesmerized,” Solarflesh is packed with distorted, sludgy sometimes downright plodding, catchy guitar solos (courtesy of ATF Sinner and Destroyer) and contrasting rabid blast beats (al la Hexen). As musicians these guys are tight – possibly somewhat stuck in their ways and playing it safe, but technically Hate barrage you, quite successfully, with the full and brutal force of their wrath.

Over and above “Watchful Eye of Doom,” Androniki’s Hellenic influence is tightly interwoven into the rest of the album and its at its most notable on “Festival of Slaves” “Mesmerized” and the album’s title track. This unusual chanting, Greek, folksy, surreal feel perfectly offsets ATF Sinner’s morbid, darkly cloaked visions and nightmares.

Wojtek and Slawek Wieslawski of Hertz Studio and Sound Division Studio’s Filip Halucha and Arek Malczewski (Behemoth’s soundHate guy as I understand it) were responsible for the mixing and mastering and sound (respectively) on the Solarflesh. I’ll be honest, while switching back and forward between the old and the new I found I had to crank Solarflesh right up to achieve the same headfuck experience I achieved with Hate’s 2010 metal monster Erebos. Pity that.

I’m hoping Solarflesh ends up being a grower. ATF Sinner’s vocal style is just as big, hostile and euphorically brutal now as back in 2010, and once cranked up full-ball, I already enjoy Solarflesh more than I did the first few times I spun it. Right now though, I don’t find the album that different to what Hate (and their Polish counterparts) have put out before and added to that the watered down sound there’s nothing driving me to pick Solarflesh over Hate’s Erebos masterpiece. What say you?

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  • Faustian Bargain

    BORING!!!! Uncreative dog plasma and poopoo

    • Madam__X

      Maybe they should market the album with a shot of espresso? Unless you mean the review then you’re outta luck we don’t offer espresso – all reviews are read at your own risk ;)

  • Faustian Bargain

    no the music, not you Madam! : )

    • Madam__X

      Great answer ;)

  • I’m ‘far from being one of those sickening, warm, fuzzy morning people’, but I prefer waking up to Vader in the morning.
    Even more with Dismember and Entombed, but we’re talking Poland here!

    (Ironic, since I haven’t heard of Hate until now)

    • Madam__X

      Those are some awesome choices to start the day! Vomitory (Opus Mortis VIII) is another goody to start the day – not Polish though ;)

      Should check out Hate if you get a chance – I’d start with Erebos though.

      • It all depends on my mood (ranging from bad to ‘Eaten’), but thanks, I saw your mentions of Erebos in the review. I’ll definitely give it a listen soon.

  • i like it

  • Imo the album feels more like a 3.5 and yes I would pick it over Erebos, which I enjoined but not as much as solarflesh

    • Madam__X

      Great feedback, thanks muchly :)

      • Thank you its great to have feed back from the writers, I guest my standards are lower than you guys… also did you notice the song (sadness will last forever) sounds a lot like underneath the cenotaph from watain

        • Madam__X

          That’s it!! It felt like a deja vu moment but I couldn’t place where I’d heard it – it’s been bugging me, so I’m well glad you’ve put that to rest – It’s also a little too close to Wrists for my liking.

  • Kalsten

    I don’t understand this review. You don’t talk about the album at all, but then there is a 2.5. I’m very lost with your reviews, Madam X. I think it is OK to talk about things that are not strictly related to the album itself (scene, production, etc), but c’mon, we want to know what you think about the album. At least to know why you give 2.5 and not 4.5, for example. This is only my honest opinion, or course.

    • Madam__X

      Thanks for your opinion Kalsten- it’s great to know what our readers are thinking.

      2.5 is not necessarily a bad rating and so indicates an album that’s OK but nothing outstandingly special. When compared with the rest of Hates extensive discography this release came back watered down production wise. Hate are stuck in their ways, playing it safe and Solarflesh is lacking anything drastically different to what Hate already have out in the market. The album also just doesn’t have any sticking ability which sucks hugely as I was excited to hear it at the offset. And so 2.5 it is and not 4.5.

  • Kalsten

    Wow, I didn’t know this band until this review. For me, I can’t hear a difference between Hate and Behemoth. I think you could give me a song i don’t know from any of them, and I would not be sure which band is playing it. Am I deaf?

    Btw, they sound great! I listened to Erebus yesterday in Spotify, and I think I will go deeper in their discography :)

    • Madam__X

      No I find them very similar sounding too – I often have to double check who I’m listening too ;) Glad you enjoyed Erebus!!

  • this album has a lot more originality and subtlety than recent vader/behemoth etc , so takes a wee while to get into it because of that too. what is it with the 2.5 addiction on this site more like a 3.5 this one.

    • Madam__X

      I agree on the subtleties but I’m still not feeling the originality – glad you’re enjoying the album though and shot for the feedback :)

      • no problem. i guess originality is subjective isn’t it. im huge fan of behemoth but whens last time they done anything original. and their riffs always sounded very morbid angel esque anyways as does a lot of death metal/extreme metal. i think with this album they are starting to set themselves apart, they don’t just blast away and they think of the importance of each song. great grooves too.

        • just listening to it again – go listen to endless purity 3mins in when the doom laden riff kicks in. that is fuckin awesome

          • Madam__X

            It is good, I enjoyed the solo that comes shortly thereafter – so cold and stripped down.

  • and by the way faustian bargain is a complete idiot on this site – stupid rants about darkthrone and saying this album is poo. grow up :)