Of all of the great death metal scenes out there, Poland’s appears to be the most underappreciated. There are countless bands, and yet, it never got the same acknowledgement that huge scenes like Sweden’s, Florida’s, and New York’s had. Even I am only vaguely familiar with it; Vader, Decapitated, and Behemoth seem to be the bands that Poland is known for and are pretty much all I’ve heard. And then there is Hate. They’ve been around since the early 90’s, and are back with their eighth album, “Solarflesh”. While I don’t know any of their other material, this is an appropriate introduction to a band that is a clear contender for Poland’s best death metal band.
At just under 50 minutes, Hate offers some brutal, yet accessible death metal. The most obvious influence is the Floridian scene, in particular, Deicide. Vocalist Adam Buszko sounds like a modern, Glen Benton, with a bit less character in his voice. Many of the riffs also sound like they’re from Deicide’s line of work. The slightly technical riffing that pays little attention to common music theory is going to have you headbanging furiously. Found among the moments of brutality are dissonant chords that just refuse to resolve. Hate also makes heavy use of slower, mid-range trills more often than any other band I’ve heard. Combine these with the ever-common atonal tremolo picked riffs, and you have all of the elements that make great death metal. In addition, “Solarflesh” integrates pinch harmonics pretty consistently without sounding ridiculous (ala brutal death metal or metalcore). To top things off, Hate don’t ruin the album by having endless amounts of blast beats. They are definitely there and plentiful, but are used to increase the intensity, rather than to try and sustain it for the entire album. My sole complaint with this record is the same one I have with most death metal: aside from a few moments (the opening of “Festival of Slaves” being one of them) there is little attempt to differentiate any of the songs. I haven’t really mentioned any of the songs yet, and that’s because there isn’t much to mention. The overall sound applies to all of them and the songwriting does nothing to push one song ahead of the others. It’s enjoyable while it lasts, but it is something that works against this album.
Ultimately, “Solarflesh” is still one of the better death metal records released recently. They take all of the great elements of the genre, discard those that ruin it, and put together a satisfying album. Fans of all old-school death metal should enjoy this, but Deicide fans in particular will definitely love it. In spite of the lack of memorable moments on this record, it is still one worth hearing, and is likely to be one of the stronger death metal albums this year.
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All of it!
4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott