Handful of Hate [Italy]
Italian black metal veterans Handful of Hate are back this year with sixth full length album, To Perdition. Having already experiencing a short hiatus between 2008 and 2009, the band proves that they are now stronger and tighter than ever with To Perdition, four years after the release of their first post-reunion album in the form of 2009’s You Will Bleed.
The aural assault right from the start with To Perdition is relentless, and with the speed, destruction and intensity that Handful of Hate presents to listeners, one is quickly reminded of powerful Swedish records such as Marduk‘s Panzer Division Marduk or Germany’s Endstille. The riffing of Deimos and Nicola are aggressive as fuck, and this is backed by the furious blasting of Aeternus, who contributes much to the high-octane listening experience on To Perdition. Furthermore, bassist Nicholas is mixed rather high on the album as well, making for a huger sounding record, and further strengthening that early Marduk comparison. Nicola’s screechy vocals also make things all the more uneasy on the record, sounding like a cross between Legion and Kult ov Azazel‘s Xaphan (along with the breakneck speed that Kult ov Azazel is known for).
Yet beneath all that aggression, there is still that sense of melody on the riffs that are unleashed by Deimos and Nicola, preventing themselves from descending into just another Swedish black metal ripoff. For instance, Cursed Be Your Breast is a rather melodic track, contrasting the aggressive and in-your-face style that the band introduced themselves with on the opening track, and moments such as these sound like a Dimmu Borgir without the heavy symphonic and orchestral elements.
For those already familiar with the genre, Handful of Hate does not bring anything new to the already-saturated genre. But To Perdition is still a record that would please fans of older (and faster) Marduk, made even better with the nice balance of aggression and melody.