31/03/11 || Habakuk
Imagine your future self traveled back in time to you and handed you his (her?) CD collection. Baaam! Your musical taste has just been flash-forwarded for some years into something better. This is what happened to me with this here album, which I bought dirt cheap off a dude who wasn’t into metal anymore but had gotten into electronic music, cut his long hair off and so forth. Well, I do actually still like metal, but I guess some future indications were looming above that scenery already. So anyway, back in my formative metal years, “Hate” hit me just at the right spot, and I reckon it still does – or would I otherwise go through all these following paragraphs?
9. From the first notes that “Awaiting the Absu” throws in your face after the “Ia Ia Pazuzu” intro, it’s clear that this is death metal to the bone. No thrash influence, no black influence, “Hate” goes straight for the jugular. The songs twist and turn with a penchant for odd time signatures, which are however so greatly embedded into the songs as a whole, they never get in the way of a perfectly flowing song experience. It’s really a sight to behold how perfectly the transitions between all sorts of riffs on this album are executed, and how you stumble upon a “wait, that’s not right” timing just to comprehend within seconds how awesome it actually works. “The cursed mayhem”‘s intro comes to mind here. The songwriting proficiency is also obvious in the fact that both climatic build-ups and slowdowns (abrupt or gradual) work fantastically and always seem logical. My only real gripe is that some songs run for five minutes or more despite bringing any new elements in after about four, but that’s only a problem with one or two songs in total.
9. This is how I want my death metal to sound. Double kick drums straight to the gut accompanied by a pretty deep snare drum, a wall of meaty guitars with some assumed bass support, and the vocals fitting in well between them. Yet it’s not all droning low-end, but the hi-hats and cymbals are neatly placed and audible just as well. Thus every element’s able to play a part in one complete-sounding album. Hell, even the bass, metal’s by all means ugly, distorted stepchild, is allowed to glimpse through once in a while. Nope, no questions asked here.
9.5. “Hate” is the first album where Bart van Wallenburg played guitars for Sinister, and what a pick he was. Gone are the scraping, sloppy six string strokes of earlier albums, replaced by insanely tight, razor-sharp riffing of all colors. Driving powerchord behemoths, high-speed fret acrobatics, painfully dragging doom riffs, what have you – Mr van Wallenburg offers it in spades. I don’t know where he came from before or went after Sinister, but death metal guitarists should really take heed here. The guy wrote the best shit this band ever brought to the table.
He wasn’t just aligning cool riffs either, but showed incredible sense of detail, for example in the alternating of open playing and palm muting within one riff (1:04), then subtly reversing that pattern (1:08) and switching between those two variations. In general, the palm-muted vs. open changes (one of the most awesome things in metal anyway) are absolutely mastered here, twisting the songs into unexpected directions and really kicking the songwriting up a notch – just listen to the beginning of “To Mega Therion”, for example, and tell me heads ain’t sent a’bangin’.
Behind the thick wall of guitar sounds lies so much thought without them ever touching the wankery line, it’s nothing short of baffling. I’m very close to a 10 here.
8. Good shit, very guttural but somewhat comprehensible growls courtesy of Mike van Mastrigt, with the odd piercing hiss. Not unfathomable next-level shit, but by any death metal standard, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the vocals on this album.
6. It’s quite safe to say that if bass is handled by the same guy as guitars, it’s not going to be the music’s focal point on a metal album. Such is the case with “Hate”, as most of the time it’s just following the downtuned riffs and buried deep below them. At least, it’s there for some of those trademark death metal accentuations, and that’s fair enough with me. The guitars are really doing enough, after all.
8. Aad Kloosterwaard does two thiings on this aalbuum: blaastbeats and doublebaass. And they sound great, especially compared to the flabby skin treatments he had handed out on Sinister’s first two albums. The bass drum is wonderfully snappy and Aaaaad’s steady double-pedal playing makes sure that there’s a great backbone for everything Bart van Wallenburg does on guitars. There isn’t much flashy fun going on behind the kit, but nothing kicks of a song just like the blunt blasting into “Awaiting the Absu” or the double-kick accentuated beat that starts the bulldozer that is “18th century hellfire”. Overall, a flawless performance, but you won’t have your mind blown.
7. Holy carnage, explosion of hatred
demons are slaying, warfare of mayhem
Gathered in black, embodied in blood
All’ve gathered in blackened fire
To celebrate, TO BLEED FOR SATAN
Dark waters stir the abyss roars with hate
Damned souls scream in agonizing pain
MANSON, commander of death
reincarnation of wrath
both SATAN and christ
curse the world by its sin
…you still reading? I actually grabbed those quotes from four songs to display their over-the-topness, but come to think of it, they would probably work together in one just as much. All’s well as long as VENGEANCE IS SWORN!!!!!
9. Some sort of monochromatic, four-armed Gargoyle on a horned semi-skull throne is monstering away at screaming heads on exposed spines, whilst hellish fire illuminates from below and the skull throne itself eats a human victim. Okay, … metal?
9. Bad ass.
8. Lyrics where SATAN is in capitals, also LUCIFER and CTHULHU. “Feast of the Goat” shirt. Band member portrait pictures in blue and black with decomposition make-up. Thank you list including half of Florida’s and New York’s greats. Aad uses Pearl Drums.
Overall and ending rant
This is the pinnacle of Sinister’s career and probably one of the pinnacles of European death metal. A true monster of an album and criminally underrated – it’s not from Sweden, New York or Florida, after all. You should really, really have heard this, so now it’s back where it belongs (and where Seker’s entry about it got deleted years back): Class666.
- Released: 1995
- Label: Nuclear Blast
- Website: www.sinister-hailthebeast.com
- Mike van Mastrigt: vocals
- Bart van Wallenburg: guitars, bass
- Aad Kloosterwaard: drums
- 01. Intro
- 02. Awaiting the Absu
- 03. Embodiment of chaos
- 04. Art of the damned
- 05. Unseen darkness
- 06. 18th century hellfire
- 07. To mega therion
- 08. The cursed mayhem
- 09. The bloodfeast