2 HATE ETERNAL * FURY & FLAMES (Metal Blade)
My dad blasted my world with a monster zing one night at dinner. When asked what I was up to all day, my timid response was that, as usual, I'd spent the three hours since school listening to Metallica's ...And Justice For All. The old man surprised me with the news that he, too, had heard some incidental Metallica that very day. Ecstatic, I fired at him What song? How? Where? What the hell? He chewed thoughtfully before explaining that near a construction site, his ear was grabbed by a song familiar to him from hearing it through the walls of my room. 'Second-hand Metal. Awesome! I shouted, rapt. He continued: Yeah I was just getting into when it turned out to be the sound of a city worker running a jackhammer while casually screaming profanities. My sister's burst of laughter shot a gob of eggplant across the table onto my plate. Damn.
That night I was mayor of Pout City but damn if I wouldn't feel the same way about extreme Metal a few years later. On my first viewing of Napalm Death's "Suffer The Children" video, I found parts of the awesome song were only a blur of noise; my common lament was that there's too much going on for it to make sense. Until one of my Metal mentors suggested that I wasn't listening to Carcass and Death at a high enough volume. I thought it was a trick until I rushed home to find that the fucker was so right! Louder is better!
This bit of insight is especially important when listening to Hate Eternal's brilliant 2008 album Fury & Flames. Not just because the mix is so drum-heavy, not just because there's so much shit happening, but mostly because Fury & Flames. Is. Fucking. Unbelievable. On F&F, Hate Eternal demonstrates a preternatural understanding of Brutal Death Metal as the music's most limitless and progressive genre. Where Progressive rock subtracts and divides, Hate Eternal's BDM is pure addition.
That's a lot of academic talk but it goes for context. And, obviously, more is not synonymous with better. In the case of Fury & Flames, however, every pick stroke, every growl, every throbbing, hammering beat is beautiful. Like Behemoth's The Apostasy, F&F's drums lend a groove to the songs, alternating mid- and uptempos to pristine effect. Frontman Erik Rutan's vocals are both a lead and rhythm instrument, clearing the way for deceptively smart riffs. You don't get hired into Morbid Angel (like Rutan did) by being unable to put together a solo, and F&F's solos employ both the screamy, shimmering tone of solo Chris Poland and the phrasing of James Murphy. And still, the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. Or however that expression goes. Turn. It. Up. LOUD.