Hate Beast - Sky Burial
Self Release
Modern thrash
11 songs (52' 29")
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Andy

Sent to me this very evening, ten-year thrash veterans Hate Beast's first LP is a mix of modern death and thrash metal, transitioning from distorted blasts in the first half of the album to more disciplined melodies later. The sound is a bit more modern than I usually get into, but there is unexpected depth in Sky Burial, and the more spins I give it, the more it grows on me.

Sky Burial is a reference to traditional Tibetan practices of laying a corpse out to be eaten by vultures, but while jhator is supposed to be a peaceful ceremony, the album is anything but. Rarely do vocal team Aaron Havlicek and Mike Strohkirch's duets sound anything but angst-ridden; one gives a fairly harsh death metal growl, the other a higher-pitched scream. At first, the songs are bass-heavy, and their detail is slightly buried beneath the heavy crunching used; this is a band whose songwriting seems to have live audiences in mind. But with repeated listens and a higher volume, more detail stands out. There is some clever noodling on Amba's Arrow, wedged in between the slamming palm-mutes mostly used, and the clean/distorted tradeoff on Dead Weight, an especially intricate track, allows it to stand out from its fellows.

Then halfway through the album, the tone changes. The modern sound remains, with its chunky riffs and the two-tone shrieked vocals, but Hospital of Seven Teeth and Digging Graves in Frozen Ground are way more melodic than their predecessors. and the latter, my favorite song on the album, is thrashy and focused, a delight to listen to. Keeping up with the songs' twists and turns can pose a challenge, though; there are enough varying rhythm passages and riff change-ups to rival a prog track.

Sky Burial is the sort of album whose reward comes on repeated listens. Fans of modern, non-retro thrash and death metal, who don't mind vocals with more than a little hardcore style to them, might like to check this one out.

Bandcamp: https://hatebeast.bandcamp.com/

Killing Songs :
Dead Weight, Hospital of Seven Teeth, Digging Graves in Frozen Ground
Andy quoted 77 / 100
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