Upon Desolate Sands

Oct. 30, 2018


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The Pitch: Florida death metal mainstays Hate Eternal bulldoze over the listener with their latest album via Season Of Mist. FFO: mid-career Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel

What I Like: Another death metal album worthy first and foremost of a room full of cavemen. I was listening to a review of the new Halloween where Michael's actions were amusingly refered to as simply "he do the stab." This album do the stab. It's a vicious and incredibly dense assault on the listener. You want heavy. You got it. If you listened to the most recent release from Morbid Angel, they often feel like kindred spirits in their brutal, oppressive, and even suffocating walls of sound. My favorite moments are where the occasional groovy, melodeath hook seeps in as with "All Hope Destroyed," which additionally has some great drum breaks sprinkled throughout. "Portal of Myriad" is another standout with its Demigod-reminiscent Babylonian riffs and shredding solo.

Critiques: This is one of those album that is heavy to a fault. When your entire album cranks the volume and speed to 11, there's no counterbalance to work with. In order to assure that your listener doesn't become desensitized to the onsaught, it's important to include some dynamics: interludes, pace changes, breaks, solos, etc. Again, "All Hope Destroyed" as well as the title track are the best examples of where they get this right. Furthermore, some of the songwriting feels a little bland.

The Verdict: Upon Desolate Sands is a punishing album with all the subtlety of a brick to the face. I appreciate Hate Eternal's penchant for brutality, however I do wish they had a better handle on dynamics to make it all pop. Think about sitting through a fire alarm: the inital blast may cause you to jump, but after a few minutes it's mostly just grating. What you need are those sonic jumpscares sprinkled throughout an otherwise quiet film.

Flight's Fav's: All Hope Destroyed, Portal Of Myriad, Dark Age Of Ruin

- Review by FlightOfIcarus

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