With all the personality of a paperweight, Hateplow attempted to trump their 1998 debut Everybody Dies with a more focused and ferocious follow-up. Taking equal queues from both the speed and hostility of deathgrind and the balanced death/thrash breaks of their sibling Malevolent Creation, The Only Law is Survival is sadly an even more indistinct entity, failing to provide even a handful of riffs that feel fresh or exciting. The process here is all too painfully obvious and simple: blast alongside boring guitar patterns and then erupt into tough guy breakdowns, the back again, while a concoction of gruff and snarled vocals splatter about the atmosphere with violent abandon.
It's a tightly executed sophomore, but that's about all I can say in its favor, for it sizzles off its own chemicals like a bum flare that is fired into the atmosphere but fails to provide any signal to its anticipatory audience. Searching for a mindless metallic onslaught which you'll forget existed within about 5-10 minutes? Sate yourself on numbing, generic explosions of testosterone like "Should I Care?", "Outcast", "Emotional Catastrophe", and "Traitor". The majority of the album feels as if someone gathered up the least impressive riffs/albums of Malevolent Creation, Deicide and Napalm Death and chucked them into a blender, recording whatever emerged as a result. I would honestly consider this the most indistinct studio album Phil Fasciana has ever performed upon, solely staked upon its lack of intriguing material. Even when the band breaks their vapid velocity mold for the slug and chug of "Incarcerated (Intent to Sell)", nothing comes of it.
This album even fails to be as revolting or shocking as its predecessor. You get a general musing tribute to the adult entertainment industry in "Addicted to Porn", but most of the remaining lyrics are focused around generic threats of bodily harm, somewhat dumbed down and 'safer' than a few of the disgusting concepts explored on Everbody Dies. The mix here is efficient but dry, not that the writing has much depth for it to flesh out, and I have the lasting impression that these gentlemen could have written ten albums of this quality within a week, choosing to adopt the first riffs and tempos that come to mind and abandoning any notion of longevity. Sure, it's all fast and would piss off your in-laws, but these are not effective enough criteria to make the CD stand out against a massive international expose of disposable death and grind.
Verdict: Fail [4/10]