Friday, September 2, 2011

Hatred Embraced - Suffering of the Holy [DEMO] (2010)

Hatred Embraced are definitely speaking my language with their Suffering of the Holy demo. The question is, are they speaking it fluently? Envision a cross-breed of Slayer's evil thrash rhythms and the old school Dutch death sounds of Pestilence (first two albums) and Asphyx, and you've found the approximate area in which the Jersey boys dwell. Naturally, that sounds like a fucking awesome place to be, but in execution, Suffering of the Holy does come off sloppy in several of its transitions and it ultimately shakes the quality of the songwriting somewhat. That aside though, the band has a firm grasp of sounding 'retro' without being incontrovertibly stupid or generic about it. This is not the latest Autopsy or Incantation clone here, or the latest Left Hand Path aspirant, but a taste of something we just don't often experience in the 21st century.

"Moloch...the Devourer" bristles with a fiendish undercurrent of energy, its tremolo riffing patterns clutching the fresh hostility of the band's 80s influences and working in tandem with the crude production values of the demo. The bridge breakdown is highly reminiscent of Pestilence circa Malleus Maleficarum or Consuming Impulse, even if it's not so taut or memorable. Ditto for the escalating evil that inaugurates "Infernal Spawn", though there is a feeling of disjointed tempo here that I didn't quite fancy. "Suffering of the Holy" itself lurches along a slower axis, almost doom-like at the onset and then panning into some riffs redolent of Death (Spiritual Healing, perhaps). "Remains of...." returns to speed, a steady battering which appreciable old school breakdowns also in the vein of late 80s Death (more of Leprosy here).

The vocals are brute in delivery ala Martin van Drunen, and as its a demo, the actual mix is quite honest and crude. Some of the riffing fills in "Moloch...the Devourer" feel like they're about to collapse the framework of the song, though the band always snaps back on track before long. One should also note the complete lack of modern embellishments or progression of any sort: this is a pure ode to the past, attempting to resurrect a rare sound between the death and thrash genres rather than one specific band. Hatred Embraced requires some polish, both aesthetically and musically (the cover of the re-released demo bites, and even the name feels tired), but if they can hone this down to a fine edge, it'll be like my fondest childhood memories slapping me right back in the face. The potential is certainly here, but I suspect they can do a lot more with it.

Verdict: Indifference [6.5/10]

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