I've held the position since I heard this album that this record might be one of the most underrated death metal albums of the entire 90's. It's actually subtly yet really importantly different from Sinister
's earlier works, and all the better for it.
Most of the dutch death metal scene prided itself on relying more on slower tempos, crushing riffs, and a deeply evocative atmosphere (among other qualities, of course - see Asphyx
, who really was the archetypical band of that scene), but Sinister
were a lot closer to the US styles of death metal then their peers. Taking quite a bit of influence from stalwarts like Morbid Angel
, but focusing on a more percussive style of death metal, Sinister
use bludgeoning riffs and tight drumming to build up these winding songs throughout. Hate
is different from the band's first two records for a couple of reasons.
For one, the overall songwriting has a much more 'occult' feeling to it than the band's previous two records. The band will often use these subtle melodic ideas to create a genuinely dark atmosphere that works as a counterpointing to the bludgeoning riffs and percussion, like the middle section of "Awaiting the Absu
". It's a vibe entirely different from what the first two records had to offer, and it pushes this album a bit ahead of them. Another major one is that the sudden drops into blasting sections make a bit more sense on this record then on some of the earlier releases, and overall the songs come off as having a more carefully written feel to them then, say Cross the Styx
The songs on this record are remarkably strong, balancing percussive brutality with a flair for more expansive feeling songs than before. The riffwork is great, with an insistently bludgeoning feel to them that, when couple with the tight, relentless percussion, gives them an incredibly memorable quality. The drumming is exceptional; Aad Klausterwaard doesn't spend the whole record just blasting his ass off for the sake of it, he knows when to switch it up rhythmically and tempo wise in an excruciatingly precise yet musical fashion. The two, alongside Mike Van Manstrigt's powerful, rhythmically-minded vocal delivery builds these songs up with drive and tension. The formula isn't particularly original, especially for 1995, but Sinister
did it far better than most.
The production job is also fantastic. It's one of the most natural yet clear-toned sound jobs i've ever heard, with a warm yet thick quality to the instruments. The drums, in particular sound rich and full-toned on this (even the kicks), and the mix is detailed enough to make out everything. It sounds perfect for the band's style on this. Sinister
are a pretty consistent band overall, but i'm inclined to say that this is where they peaked.