Hatesphere - New HellIf anything can be said about Hatesphere, it’s that they know how to please their fans. Though many of us crave a bit more diversity across a fifteen-year career, the fact that Hatesphere drops consistent album after consistent album every couple years is enough to please (almost) anyone. Hatesphere‘s consistency is the result of founding guitarist Peter Hansen and his continued navigation along the course set by 2001’s self-titled debut. Always heavy, always thrashy, and always with a touch of melody, the only real variation from album-to-album is the vocal performance. The band’s first vocalist, Jacob Bredahl, gave his best Tomas Lindberg impression to Hatesphere for five albums before being replaced by Jonathan Albrechtsen on 2009’s To the Nines. Albrechtsen came into To the Nines with death in his voice—and a similarity to The Haunted‘s Marco Aro—but his era ended quickly. Esben Hansen took the reins on the groove-happy The Great Bludgeoning; interspersing the signature Hatesphere belts with Peter Wiwczarek-isms. The Great Bludgeoning marked a new era for the band and a renewed passion in the music. But can these gents deliver the same level of groovy, hooky, accessible songwriting on New Hell?

Well, they try pretty damn hard. New Hell, like The Great Bludgeoning, dishes out thrashy licks, groovy foot-stompers, and plenty of melodic subtleties. New Hell, unlike Murderlust and some of their mid-career records, is concisely and consistently crafted, making for a more streamlined record that doesn’t feel like a crate of hate-themed landmines. However, New Hell is still Hatesphere to its core and high expectations for ground-breaking songwriting or the elimination of filler should be quenched immediately. That said, most of the choruses work well and the layered combination of rasps, barks, and yells result in some of the catchier and more accessible material in Hatesphere‘s catalog.

“The Executioner” gets things rolling in classic Hatesphere fashion, fusing their typical pissed-off attitude with a hooking chorus designed to snag you in the jaw. “Head on a Spike” and “Master of Betrayal” continue this aggressive hookiness, piling riffs on top of melodic choruses and sending this hate train careening through every station. “Head on a Spike” opens with soothing guitar cleans before the band unleashes some trashy Haunted riffs, while “Master of Betrayal” beats you down with a monstrous chorus perfectly suited to Esben’s Vader-esque barks.

Hatesphere 2016
For those itching for some Hatesphere groove, look no further than “The Longest Haul” and the title track. Both will equally get your head bobbing, but “The Longest Haul” is simply addictive. Its groovy main riff, melodic chorus, and clever effects-laden guitar lead toward the end do a fine job of forcing a smile on my face. Between the catchy and the groovy sits the beauty-and-the-beast instrumental “On the Shores of Hell” and the “epic” “The Grey Mass.” The former lays down Testament-inspired clean guitars before unleashing some atmospheric distortion. It’s a great piece and a well-executed intermission to the record. “The Grey Mass,” on the other hand, fuses the heavy with the melodic in its five-and-a-half minute runtime. Maybe not as epic a closer as the one on Serpent Smiles and Killer Eyes, but “The Grey Mass” does a fine job of helping the listener spend the last of their white-knuckle rage.

All that said, New Hell isn’t terribly new. Tracks like “Line Crossed Lives Lost” and “Your Sad Experience” don’t pack staying power and Esben’s vocals, while crushing, don’t add new dimension to the music. The instrumentation and vocals are well-balanced and the production is clean, but Tue Madsen’s mastering is, unsurprisingly, quite loud. Regardless of these shortcomings, Hansen delivers meaty riffs and Mike Park Nielsen (ex-Mercenary) is as tight as ever. New Hell is another anger-filled slab of Danish thrash, brimming with chunky riffs, crushing drum work, and another angry-as-hell vocal performance. Though New Hell may not top last year’s The Haunted outing, it sure as hell should help with all your snow shoveling.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Massacre Records
Websites: hatesphere.com | facebook.com/Hatesphere666
Release Dates: EU: 2015.11.20 | NA: 02.12.2016

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  • AndySynn

    I’ve always, always enjoyed these guys. They have an awkward tendency to do “classic” Haunted better than The Haunted in my eyes (I say this as someone whose favourite Haunted album is “The Dead Eye” however).

    The only thing I’ll disagree with is… the bit about vocal variety. I honestly think that all their vocalists have been clones of one another (not in a bad way!), as they all seem to possess the exact same vocal chords and phrasings!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I enjoy The Dead Eye as well. Overall, I think I prefer The Haunted to these guys.

      I feel the original singer and this new singer have some similarities in vocals. The middle singer, I thought, was much different and more deathy. But all of them definitely have similar deliveries and all their voices fit the music pretty well.

      • AndySynn

        My issue with The Haunted (and this is not so much a criticism as it is an analysis by someone who considers themselves a fan) is that they never actually seemed to know quite who/what they wanted to be (and, amusingly, when people talk about “The Haunted sound” they’re generally referring to… what Hatesphere sound like).

        Again, not attacking the band, but I’ve thought long and hard on this. The self-titled made some steps away from the ATG sound… but “Made Me Do It” (to my ears at least) balked at the fence a little, and went two steps back towards a pseudo-ATG style… then OKW went for a heavier style (akin to “Demonic” era Testament), then “rEvolvEr” did a sort of… darker, more melodic take on the self-titled, then they went to their MOST unique place on “The Dead Eye”… then barely tried on Versus, and THEN had a total identity crisis (not that I blame them) on “Unseen”.

        So, if you look at it that way… there’s not really one CONSISTENT identity that’s really The Haunted. People tend to just refer to one album or the other, whether they mean to or not, when talking about “The Haunted’s sound”. Though, hopefully, the newest album will signal a period of consistent growth and a solid identity for them, finally.

        Phew, that was quite a screed, wasn’t it? Anyway, that’s why I often joke (affectionately) that “Hatesphere do a better impression of The Haunted than The Haunted do” – because what most people unconsciously think of as The Haunted’s “sound” is something that Hatesphere have done far more of over the years!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Ha! Yeah, I have to agree with you on all of that. They have been all over the place throughout their career and maybe that’s why I like them. With each album there is something new to take in. Otherwise, I think it would just be the same old shit (but yeah, there is Unseen…). But if they take the “style” of their new album and run with it, the next album should be quite good.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    [off-topic]
    When’s Obscura?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Wow, yeah, that is waaaay off topic.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        I never cared about these guys, I apologize.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          No apology necessary. Just funny.

      • I’d say it’s a pretty obscure topic too if you ask me.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          D’OH!!!!

    • Soon….

      • Diego Molero

        I read a few reviews and they gave it very possitive scores, even a 5/5, can’t wait to see the review here at AMG

        • Blueberry Balls

          Lots of Cynic Focus worship to be had. It is good, very good – but borders on plagiarism at times.

  • Dethjesta

    Groovy thrash metal!! – takes me back to the early 90s.

    A wonderful time, before metalcore, before nu metal, before all my favourite bands went soft and started recording ‘radio friendly’ rubbish. A time when Punk was still aggressive, before the skaters got hold of it.

    Happy times :)

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Oh skater music…

  • “Well, hello there! I was just reading this book. Let me lip synch a song about hating you. Yeah. Yeah you like that don’t you. Ok back to my book.”

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this video before, but it was a parody… of Miley Cyrus. He does sorta remind me of her dad.

  • HMG

    Bad mixed record.

  • Siege Bantayan

    I’ve listened to the record already and I agree with the score, maybe even a 2.0 as I barely got through my first listen and couldn’t finish a second listen.

    That said I loved The Great Bludgeoning.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      The Great Bludgeoning is definitely one of my favorites. Upon first listen, I can see a 2.0. After I gave it a few spins and took in some of the details of the songs and the flow of the album, it got better.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Too much hate…. Needs kitten.

    • Thatguy

      Yes!!

    • Celaeno

      ahhhhmazing. oh yeah, the review’s good too. ;-)

  • Flyingguillotine

    I enjoyed the video.