Released: 1999, Wicked World
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
This album, along with My Dying Bride's latest, was my most anticipated release of 1999. Being a fan of guitarist Erik Rutan's work with Ripping Corpse and Morbid Angel, and also after hearing Hate Eternal's 1997 promo demo CD, I was convinced that "Conquering the Throne" would in fact be the "Reign in Blood" of death metal, as proclaimed by Erik himself. But after listening to the album, I am left disappointed. Two things disappoint me about this CD. One, the drums sound too sampled. I love the natural sound of drums. But in metal, it seems bands sample their drums quite often. Now although I find nothing inherently wrong with this, I do think that it's possible to have too fake of a sound. I love the rough sounding production on the demo. But the drums on the new album, or more specifically the kick drums, stick out too much in the mix and tend to drown out the guitars during the blasts and fast double bass parts (of which almost the entire album is comprised of). And sometimes it is hard to hear the snare, especially during blasts. Now this says nothing against drummer Tim Yeung's performance, because this guy is quick! Pete Sandoval, watch out! Tim is quite amazing and gives other death metal drummers a run for the money.
The second thing that bothers me, and the more important one, is Erik's vocals. On the demo, his vocals were very twisted, like Martin van Drunen (Asphyx/Pestilence) or John Tardy (Obituary)…somewhere in between the low death growl and high blackened screaming type. Erik basically sounded like he was dying, and to survive he had to kill everyone and everything, and sing while doing so (if that makes any sense). But that's what he sounded like…furious, intense, and just goddamn gut-wrenching! But on the new album, he opted for the typical low death growl that a thousand bands have already done. Granted, he does them excellently, but they don't pair up well with the intensity of the music. One thing that is good, however, is when Erik is backed by bassist Jared Anderson, which combines low death growls with the higher more rancid ones, like early Deicide.
These two disappointments prevent me from giving this CD the "5" that it should have gotten. But bad things aside, this album will blow your head off! As I mentioned Tim's drumming performance is top notch. And the guitar assault of Erik and ex-Suffocation shredder Doug Cerrito is innovating and just brutal as all hell! I've always appreciated the way Erik writes. He tends to write panicky and somewhat disturbing riffs. Erik wrote most of the album, whereas Doug wrote three tracks. Not being a Suffocation fan (yet), I cannot comment on Doug's performance other than saying that he rocks enough to make me want to go back and check out Suffocation's material! The entire album is based on speed, hatred, and brutality. You won't be finding any slow parts here! The album slams twelve tracks in just 33 and a half minutes!
So is this the "Reign in Blood" of death metal? Hmmm…I don't know. I should say "yes", but I can't get over my dissatisfaction with the vocals and production (what is wrong with me?). But regardless, this album blows away 95% of the death metal bands out there today, and you owe it to yourself to check it out if you like intense death metal! Visit the Hate Eternal web site at: http://hateeternal.com/