Handful of Hate - Gruesome Splendour
Cruz Del Sur Music
Brutal Black Metal
9 songs (35'52")
Release year: 2006
Handful of Hate, Cruz Del Sur Music
Reviewed by Alex

Many would agree with me that Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction had one of the best soundtracks for a movie, even though metal genre was omitted. The place where it would have been very appropriate is when Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) and Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) find themselves trapped in a pawnshop’s basement by the perverted owner and infamous Zed. When The Gimp is brought out and Marsellus is to be ass-raped some brutal music would have been fitting.

Italians Handful of Hate with their cover featuring a man with a ball gag in his mouth, their sadistic sexual lyrics and blasting black metal could have fit the part. The band already has a few full-length albums and EPs on several European underground labels, but do not count on me dredging up their history as the last thing I am interested in as of late is some mindless blasting brutality.

On that front Gruesome Splendour delivers with abundance. This is raw (but not in terms of feeble trebly production) black metal which only purpose is to violate a listener. Most of the songs on the album are madly fast blasting gallops, with little in a way of melody, defined riffing or otherwise. Guitars are definitely there, but they are set too low in the mix to get from under the shadow of an overpowering drum assault. Drummer Gionata P seizes the day and goes to work. His bass kicks straight in the gut, with snare going in hand-in-hand adding its sickly punch. Through the wall, through the skull, there is no cover from this constant machine gun barrage (Livid; Used to Discipline; Tied, Whipped … Educated; Whiplaw). Founder Nicola B vocals is the only other “instrument” that has the place in this mayhem, his voice a black metal acceptable demented scream, the voice of the man on the cover being raped. That is how The Gimp must have felt before Butch and Marsellus Wallace showed up to take his place for at least one day of torture.

Some racing thrash on Livid and Theory of Perfection, mid-pace stomping Horna-like riffs of Grotesque in Pleasure, Rotten in Vice and Spawn of Decadence are very few, but welcome departures from the Handful of Hate norm. Still machine gunning all along the way, at least Spawn of Decadence makes some sense and logic, and bits of thrashing melody are very much at home at the end of Livid and Theory of Perfection. These brief moments and grudgingly proceeding dirt’n’grit instrumental closer Ejaculation Dementiae are still not enough to lift the album from the single-minded brutalizing attack.

If you are ever going to be in need of some self-annihilation, when all you want is to be knocked to the floor, to be dusted off, only to be kicked again, then search out for Gruesome Splendour. I find it an idealess slab of music not worthy to be replayed twice. Looks very much like a homey pick for Cruz Del Sur who has already signed just about every worthwhile power and traditional metal act in North America.

Killing Songs :
Spawn of Decadence
Alex quoted 35 / 100
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