Every three years or so, I get to experience a strong feeling of déjà vu. I find myself re-living the past through a sequence of emotions not unlike the Kübler-Ross model for the five stages of grief. It coincides with the release of each new Hate Eternal album, but instead of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, my sequence usually only consists of three stages.
ANTICIPATION – I just know there’s something special inside singer/guitarist Erik Rutan which will eventually cause my ears to explode with dripping, orgasmic joy. Could this be it?
DISAPPOINTMENT – After ten minutes, I realise it’s following the exact same pattern as all the others. Great musicianship but not one truly memorable song.
RESOLUTION – deciding once and for all that this will be the last Hate Eternal album I listen to.
Yes, of course I know that’s rubbish. It wouldn’t be a cycle if I didn’t repeat it, and Infernus (Season of Mist) definitely makes me think I’m doing it all over again for a good reason with its frenetic opening track ‘Locust Swarm’. All the usual trademarks are in evidence straight away. Pummeling blastbeats, angular, atonal riffing and Rutan’s roaring vocals are all present and perfectly correct. Second track, ‘The Stygian Deep’ begins like a less subtle version of The Satanist (Metal Blade) by Behemoth but quickly becomes its very own snarling beast. ‘Pathogenic Apathy’ comes along to keep things moving and contains a couple of very tasty riffs. ‘La Tempestad’ follows, but no matter how fast and frantic it might be, it doesn’t really do a lot and things stall a little. However, the quite magnificent title track arrives next, and that beautiful noise you can hear is the sound of Behemoth and Morbid Angel having a baby.
Unfortunately, things start to unravel pretty much as anticipated after that. None of the remaining songs are that memorable or pack any real punch and we soon find ourselves back in all too familiar Hate Eternal territory. Sure, there’s some pure Morbid Angel loveliness during ‘Order of the Arcane Scripture’, ‘Chaos Theory’ is actually a very enjoyable instrumental, and closer, ‘O’ Majestic Being, Hear My Call’ isn’t a bad song by any stretch, but there just aren’t enough highlights to salvage an otherwise forgettable second half.