The music of Hate is the epitome of Polish death metal. Discuss. Having been around for 28 years, the warmongering isn’t over yet. “Auric Gates of Veles” is the band’s eleventh album.

I think it’s the sustained contempt which is so impressive. “Seventh Mantavara” bludgeons along. It’s in no hurry. This harsh slab just sweeps everything aside in its wake. The imperious power and authority continue to rage on “Thriskhelion”. It’s heavy, harsh and uncompromising. “Thriskhelion” smacks of turbulence and chaos, and ends in musical gunfire. This album was produced at the renowned Hertz studios, and it shows as every ounce of ferocity is extracted from these monstrous pieces. Yet in there I could sense strong structures in the power. The playing is of course tight and the instrumental co-ordination of these balls of fury is impressive. The band themselves describe “Sovereign Sanctity” as anthemic, and so it is, bombarding its furious way into our psyche and making our ears bleed. Apparently this track touches on a number of existential questions, invoking the Slavonic deity Veles following a death in battle. Veles represents the dark element of existence. Although it is clear that there is a story and a message behind this, I kind of lost that thanks to the overwhelmingly thunderous power within these pieces. After the epic “Sovereign Sanctity”, it was hard to imagine Hate toning down, and this doesn’t happen as they blast their way into the black metal whirlpool of “Path to Arkhen”. It slows down for a few seconds, but the weight is never reduced and it’s only the prequel to more black atmospherics and a swirling sound wall. The title track then drops on us like a hammer stone. Where some parts of this album are like breathless thrashing fury, others are overpowering in their sheer heaviness and weight. The band speak of “sonic destruction with dark ambient elements in the background”. The multi-layered “Auric Gates of Veles” is most certainly this. “Salve Ignis” starts with more imperious authority before setting off on its complex path of harsh and withering contempt. Of all the tracks, this one didn’t have the interest of the others, sticking to its relentless path. “Generation Sulphur” redresses the balance, and leaves us firmly in Hate’s world of fire and destruction.

Like spending a day battling against rain and wind in a storm, a nice cup of tea was in order after all this blood and thunder. “Auric Gates of Veles” may be the band’s eleventh album, but they have lost none of their intensity. Impressive.

(8.5/10 Andrew Doherty)