Released: 2016, Massacre Records
Not much changes in the world of Hatesphere, this prolific Danish act set to release their 9th studio album since their debut in 2001. NEW HELL has been out in since November, but is only now being released in North America. The lineup has remained fairly stable now for the last four years, but even with the revolving door of band members, Hatesphere has remained stubbornly consistent. Still on Massacre Records, the technical precision of Hatesphere remains in place on NEW HELL with virtually no alteration to the band’s death/thrash formula. Delivering 10 new songs, NEW HELL is sure to please those satisfied with the previous album, MUDERLUST.
One of the things I have always enjoyed about the band is the guitar work. Sure it is not particularly inventive, but it is always tight and each album delivers some memorable riffs. There are plenty of fast songs on NEW HELL, so the mid-paced songs are the most immediately distinguishable. “The Longest Haul” is one of those, recalling the classic thrash era with its chugging verse. The title track also stands out as a catchy piece of aggression. The most surprising and welcome track is the instrumental “On The Shores Of Hell”, a definite departure for the band that features some inspired soloing and clean guitars.
There is of course a certain appeal to knowing exactly what you are going to get album to album, which is why Motorhead, Slayer, and Dragonforce have such a passionate core of fans. That is not to suggest Hatesphere will ever have that kind of mass appeal, but fans of the band can feel secure in the knowledge their band is not going to be breaking the mould. Naturally, that strength is also a weakness, I progressed through the album the songs started to sound mostly the same. My biggest problem though with Hatesphere is Esse’s vocals, which drift too far into hardcore territory for me. Strangely, it makes the album less heavy, and I would have preferred a more thrash like vocal approach. NEW HELL will not surprise anyone, but the band is still going strong and putting out albums every other year that will certainly please the core fans.