Floridian Death Metal is arguably the most important stepping stone in Death Metal history. The pathway into the age of the extreme. Whilst the quest to be the heaviest still loomed Thrash was transforming and in its wake spawned Death Metal. With subject matter fitting a stereotypically taboo nature in an age where Metal was still be persecuted extremity found its new throne. Death Metal was unlike anything before it, vile, nasty and generally so unspeakable that it seldom stirred the mainstream thus creating a dedicated underground fanbase for years to come.

Steeped in history and hailing from the Floridian scene Hate Eternal rise. Headed by the mighty Eric Rutan of Ripping Corpse fame Hate Eternal certainly have their feet well planted when it comes to Death Metal. The bands debut full length may not have been until 1999 but they have certainly made their mark with albums such as King Of All Kings and I, Monarch taking centre stage. The time has come for the bands seventh full length album and follow up to 2015’s Infernus, the latest offering Upon Desolate Sands from Season Of Mist.

Every bit as evil, destructive and punishing as one might expect Hate Eternal barrage in with complex Death Metal riffs, drumming and the tainted guttural tones of Erik Rutan. This blend in turn elevates the bands sound to that of modern Death Metal bliss with stunning production that brings the album to life. Even at points flirting with Melodic Death Metal in tracks like The Violent Fury, and in guitar solos much like the one in What Lies Beyond, these added notes give the album memorable flare and an overall contemporary flow.

In a bid to keep the album fresh the titular track injects nigh on Symphonic influence with ritualistic chanting that shows a certain epic nature. I have to attest that Upon Desolate Sands is a wondrous feat for Hate Eternal, a torch of Death Metal purity to be held high and worshipped. It may be atypically Death Metal with little more than added melody and light symphonic touches but it is a marvellous spectacle and these elements aid in keeping Hate Eternal afloat in an ever-changing world. Personally I haven’t derived this much pleasure from a Hate Eternal release since my first exposure to King Of All Kings many years ago.

It’s always a pleasure to see the old faithful pulling through, there is always a worry that new releases from bands soaked in the dust of the past will be agonizingly compared to their classic counterparts. Therefore it is truly refreshing to hear an album that proves a band still have so much more to give, I wholeheartedly commend Hate Eternal on this album. It’s one that I will certainly not forget in a hurry, of course you cannot deny the classic releases but this is as good a starting point as any when it comes to Hate Eternal’s discography.

(8/10 George Caley)