38 minutes of relentless death metal catered by Hate Force, your new favourite death metal band. The name’s a little juvenile for my tastes, but we’re all really just children wandering aimlessly through this decrepit world anyways. Bummer.
These Chicagoan (I typed that word on a whim and I’m surprised Microsoft Word didn’t spew it out like hot garbage) death metal inquisitors have got a knack for slow, oozing death metal and crushing skulls. Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, Hate Force seem like some pretty nice dudes who make wholesome music. Operating within the vein of ‘90s death metal that didn’t get all technical, this self-titled debut is crammed with fun “weightlifting riffs” covered with an ill but relatively clean production. Hate Force sound a lot like Gatecreeper without the ear rupturing production choices.
Okay, I went through an entire paragraph without saying it. This is Bolt Thrower worship. To be fair, Hate Force seem to play a little slower, with perhaps an additional emphasis on primitive sonics rather than song composition, but still.
For those out of the loop, Bolt Thrower are pretty much the best death metal band of all time, at least in terms of overall reach and consistent music quality. Of course this is all conjecture, but honestly, if you discount bands who founded the scene, like Death and Morbid Angel, and subsequently strip their “Founding Father” legacies, Bolt Thrower would fit in with the best of ‘em. The band operated with a strict mentality, that being a pact agreed upon by all band members that they wouldn’t release new music if they couldn’t unanimously agree that it was at least up to par with their most recent work. Looking back, for the most part, they succeeded in this, as they don’t really have a bad album. Consequently, all of their full-lengths kind of sound the same with the whole Bolt Thrower formula, but the listener knows what they’re in for and sometimes that’s what the ear wants.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Hate Force seem to be pretty derivative of Bolt Thrower’s sound. Now, these so-called “worship” bands have certainly been prevalent for a while now, but its still important to note. The emphasis that metal culture places on its own history, the “greats” of the genre if you will, definitely contributes to these worship bands. Most of them still put their own emphasis on the music they release, but these groups go farther than an artist simply citing their major influences.
The reason I’ve been dedicating so much time to this band’s backstory, or rather Bolt Thrower’s, revolves around something I mentioned earlier. Since Bolt Thrower always stuck to a formula, their career consisted of them releasing the same album over and over again, for the most part. Don’t get me wrong, its all great music and they were gifted musicians, as you can truly just pick up any Bolt Thrower album on a whim and trust that it will be of great quality, but their sound is certainly a little stagnant. So now, for Hate Force’s case, we’ve got a fresh band writing new music influenced by a relatively stagnant sound, so we’re bordering on some potentially big issues here.
Firstly, the replay ability potential can potentially be tampered. This is no different than for other “worship” bands, who obviously just heavily derive from other bands for the sake of producing more material in their sonic vein, but usually these bands opt to worship groups that either weren’t very consistent, or only have a handful of albums.
Take Celtic Frost for example. They have a number of different sounds displayed, ranging from black/thrash/death to hair metal. We’ve seen a few bands dedicate careers to one of these Frostian sounds, like Malleus, a Celtic Frost worship band out of Boston. This works, because Celtic Frost only produced two works in the vein of this sound, so naturally, the demand for this type of sound will be higher, so these bands are just filling in a market gap all while having fun. Metal economics!
In our case, Bolt Thrower have eight studio albums! Only veteran metalheads will be entirely familiar with their discography, and even then their albums have so much replay ability that you’d never really go out seeking more of it, at least in my case.
Luckily for Hate Force, they play a slower, more overbearing style of death metal, in comparison to Bolt Thrower’s mostly faster tempo. While Bolt Thrower certainly had slower moments, Hate Force really put an effort to include crushing breakdowns wherever they could here, which makes the established sound feel fresh. In all honestly, some of them fall flat, like the slower portion on “DEATH SENTENCE” which isn’t slow enough in comparison to the rest of the track, but most of them definitely get your head bobbing.
Hate Force includes nine tracks (one of which being a minute-long intro track; sound familiar?), all of which hover around the four minute mark. I usually take track-by-track notes on album playthroughs, noting the differences between each song and whatnot, but I stopped taking notes about four tracks in here. This isn’t a negative, per se, rather this just further proves that Hate Force is cemented within a particular sound, which is fine. You just have to know what you’re getting in to as a listener, and if you’re down with Bolt Thrower-esque stomping death metal, then Hate Force is right up your alley.
I will give the band credit for creating a really fun release here. I usually can’t listen to albums twice in a row whilst writing, and rather I come back to them with a fresh mind a day or so later. However, with this one, I found myself wanting to keep Hate Force on repeat, just because its an enjoyable listen.
Taking all of what I said into consideration, with the worship qualities but the surprising fun-factor this album has as well, I can say with ease that Hate Force is a success. This wasn’t a typical review, because there’s not much to talk about outside of influences and some sonic changes, but I hope I got my point across. Personally, I won’t be coming back to this release for a while, because I have yet to sink my teeth into Bolt Thrower’s entire discography, so whenever I feel that itch I’ll just go back to them. However, if you want some kickin’ Bolt Thrower-esque tunes that amp up the fun factor, you know where to go.