Powerful and authoritative from the opening chords, Total Hate set the precedent from the offset.
The vocals on ‘Psychopath’ are dominant and potent and work together with Aer and Erebos on the guitars, with Serrator creating the formidable and controlling spine to the piece by way of the kit. Mid song the drums go supersonic and elevate the speed and technicalities, these in turn force Adrastos’ vocals to keep pace, and they are spat out with viciousness and venom aplenty. Towards its conclusion ‘Psychopath’ verges on becoming a mess through the speed and haste, but they all keep hold of the waltzer and make it to the end of the opening track without too much disorder and disarray.
The album continues in the same thread throughout, replicating the works of their more established countrymen, with fragments of Marduk and Endstille being heard, although it’s hard to pinpoint in what fashion these similarities have been born. Total Hate seem to be able to deliver the scores as if they have just had a healthy dose of amphetamines with their coffee, and this breakneck pace is technically brilliant and accomplished throughout.
‘Throne Behind A Black Veil’ is the fourth deliverance from the Germanic misanthropic black art conjurers. It spills over with flashes of ingenuity and wonderment which help to conjure up beautiful hatred and venom throughout. The structures of the facets within the album are unorthodox to a degree and they pay homage to the primitive blackened black metal pioneer overlords.
As much as the album is barbarous, brutal and savage, its downfall is that it is very much one dimensional in places. The tracks pick you up and throw you around almost as Cerberus would have tossed aside any banished soul to the bowels of hell, yet they don’t deviate or offer a differing level to perch on to escape the flames generated South of Heaven.
‘His Throne Behind A Black Veil’ opens with a speedy guitar exhibit and then launches into the fierce and merciless main body of the track. The vocals have been slowed down slightly with more of a catchy soul to them and Adrastos’ band mates follow in the same fashion, slower, more thought provoking riffs and beats throughout.
The album continues with ‘Death Raid Apocalypse’ and this track doesn’t hang around, clocking in a tidy 2:59. There is a slight edgy punky undercurrent to the track and this may have contributed to the stripped back track length. It is probably the standout track on the album for me, accomplished and veering off on a tangent from most of the other fine wares on show within the package, make for a refreshing change of direction although still within the malevolent whispering forest we have already ventured into.
The album finishes with penultimate ‘Lunatic Beast’ and the closer ‘Venomed Seed’. ‘Lunatic Beast’ is a slight respite from the album that sits before it. It is slower, more methodical and slightly doomier than its siblings. The vocals are slightly lost in the mix at times and the doomier outfit doesn’t seem to allow Adrastos to showcase his full talents.
‘Venomed Seed’ opens with calculated and measured artistic showmanship. The drums and guitars lead us into the tirade, the riot that is to follow. The track lasts in excess of 7:30 and this is probably constructed in this way on purpose in order to allow all involved to exhibit their talents. All facets of the band seem to pull in different directions, but somehow it seems together and it works, it just works.
‘Throne Behind A Black Veil’ is the bands fourth born and marks 19 years of the bands existence, and proves that with time comes beauty and, like a fine Chablis or Bordeaux, this band has just got better with age.
These black metal warriors need to be overlooked at your peril, anyone with a sense of loyalty to the black metal world, or even extreme metal in general, need to secure themselves a copy of this, and let’s get this band the notice and recognition they well and truly deserve.
(8/10 Phil Pountney)