Hateful: Epilogue Of Masquerade


Carnivorous in sound and intent yet seductively twisted inside through psyche bred invention and enterprise, Epilogue Of Masquerade from Italian death metallers Hateful is a brutal temptation which offers much more than its surface corrosiveness suggests. It is an album which old school genre fans may find too intensively inventive and unpredictable but those with the hunger for something different and adventurous, this album easily fits the order.

Formed in 1997 by Daniele Lupidi (bass, vocals, rhythm guitar), Hateful took their inspirations from old school European death and doom metal, and becoming a serious proposition with the addition of the likes of Matteo Manfredini (vocals) and Marcello Malagoli (drums) alongside Lupidi. Many line-up changes occurred across the subsequent years to leave instability in the band though they still recorded in 2000 the well-received After the Last Breath MCD which gave them a strong presence in the underground scene. Further changes followed in personnel to slow the band as well as another fan acclaimed release in a split with Hellspawn and Impureza in 2006. Now a duo of Lupidi and Malagoli, the pair started to record debut album Coils Of a Consumed Paradise which was unleashed in 2010 alongside impressive line performances and a stable line-up with  Massimo Vezzani (lead and rhythm guitars) alongside the pair. Released via The Spew Records, Epilogue Of Masquerade is the second full length release from the band and trio, and an album which could and should see Hateful find the recognition they have sought and deserved.

Artifacts of the Damned starts things off with an initially drifting but closing in sonic twister of teasing temptation. As it is HatefulCoverseemingly departing the track explodes into a ravaging onslaught of bone crushing rhythmic provocation and corrosive riffing, all ridden by dark guttural vocal squalls. It is a heinous encounter, a debilitating tempest which as potently as it chews upon the senses ignites the imagination, especially with the jagged edge to the riffs and psychotic nature of the stance of the song. Continually twisting in on itself and the senses, the track is a monstrous piece of inventive violence, a bestial tsunami of intensity setting the release off to a staggering start.

Corrupting the Veils That Keeps the Mind Sane soon stakes its presence in the ear with another drum led entrapment, guitars and bass gnawing away at the damage with technical hostility and predatory energy. As with the first, it whips through multiple turns of imagination and enterprise leaving the listener almost bewildered but seduced by the sonic and rhythmic rapacity. As dramatic and ravenous as its predecessor the track leaves another impressive lingering mark soon matched by the equally riveting and devastating violations of A Despicable Harvest and It Once Was Light.

Such the intensity and possibly the unrelenting quick shifting of ideas there is an abrasive and raw feel to the tracks which may find distrust with some but it just adds to the creative and raptorial defilement of the senses, as the excellent likes of Breathing the Whirlwind, the groove spiralling maelstrom Stillbirth, and the insidiously venomous Celestial Purification strikingly show.

Across the album the trio leave no part of the senses and emotions unchallenged, their undeniable craft and invention honed into a synapse scything  aural toxicity which inspires the strongest satisfaction and rapture. It may not be for everyone but as songs like the savage Ravenous and the sonically predacious Walking Into a Nightmare unveil their aural mercury it is impossible to avoid being seared by the sonic animosity, and if in league with their ruinous imagination being reduced to lustful ardour.

   Epilogue Of Masquerade is an outstanding album which for a great many will be a one of the major highlight of the year and for all extreme metal fans a release to leave deeply gripping claws in their thoughts.



RingMaster 24/06/2013

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Hellspawn: The Great Red Dragon


    Uncompromising and ravenously destructive, The Great Red Dragon from Polish death metallers Hellspawn takes no prisoners sonically or in intent. It is an album which ravages the senses with impressively accomplished craft and merciless corrosive energy to leave one exhausted and reeling under its weight of sound. It is also admittedly a release which seemingly refuses to take adventurous avenues within the genre or break down existing ideas into something truly distinct, yet from start to finish it leaves one wholly satisfied and unreserved in wanting to stand before its confrontation time and time again.

Hailing from Wieluń, Hellspawn formed in 2003 and by 2005 with a settled line-up had their first record, Demo 2005 released via Chilean label Infernal Overkil and Nihilistic Holocaust in France, the second as part of a split release. 2010 saw debut album Child of Hell released through Exploratory Drilling Productions to strong responses, reactions which have been surpassed by The Great Red Dragon upon its unleashing via Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Psycho last year. An album apparently heavily influenced by the work of William Blake, it is a release which though having been released last year deserves to be in the awareness of all extreme metal fans. As mentioned it does not offer anything new but the release is undoubtedly a thunderous engagement with sounds derived from the likes of Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, Behemoth, and Marduk and one which leaves no one bored.

The album demands attention immediately with the initial thumping rhythms of The First Banner In The Fields Of Devil and its9696_327937233949105_1666372934_n caustic guitar scraping of the ear. It soon collects all its elements for an explosive torrent of crippling rhythms from drummer Robert Kolman and tight cutting riffs from guitarists Marcin Garyga and Daniel Drosiński, whilst bassist and vocalist Mariusz Konieczny unveils the deepest shadows with his intimidating lines and heavy vocal squalls. The track evolves into a maelstrom of sonic guitar mastery and hungry intensity rhythmically and vocally, the heavy growls of Konieczny malice drenched.

The following Word Becomes Flesh continues the formidable start with its own primal violation and sonic torrent of aggression. Like the first, the song ripples with ideas which though not exactly new keep the song fresh and intriguing whilst in its overwhelming company. It has to be said even at this point that once a song departs it is not that easy to remember anything in particular about them when looking back, and that also applies to the album as a whole, but within their tumultuous battle they do not let anyone or any appetite down.

The likes of Hellspawn, Diabolic, and the title track blast the senses and thoughts with more unrelenting malevolence and undeniably skilled enterprise, the last of the three a particularly carnal ravishment which sears the flesh with its acidic grooves  and callous riffing not to mention barbaric rhythms.

It has to be said the second half of the album is its best started by Intro To The Revelation, the gate way into the most creative heart of the release. The shimmering instrumental makes way for the highest point of the album, Revelation Of The Great Red Dragon. It is a colossal compassionless scourge with viral grooves, captivating sonic imagination, and pillaging violence, and the one song which does linger and prompt memories after its despoiling of the senses, though it is equally matched by The Dice Are Cast, another herculean ravage upon the person and psyche. Both tracks show how good the band are and could be with a richer uniqueness to their presence which conversely does leave the rest of the album looking less impressive in some ways.

The album makes sure every song is at least within its companionship something which leaves scars of spite and pleasure, the final tracks The Greatest King Among Demon and An Obelisk Of The World no weak exceptions. Both drive to infiltrate further within the listener if not with invention than with sonic violence as presented by some great guitar solos and piercing fire branded notes. The Great Red Dragon is without doubt a brief, at less than thirty minutes in length, but great album, and if you are looking for a release extremely well done but prowling familiar extreme metal territories then this is one not to be missed.



RingMaster 15/02/2013

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