“Phoenix Amongst The Ashes” is the fifth studio release from the Florida death metal band known as Hate Eternal. Despite loss of friends, line-up changes, this trio continues to push forward delivering track after track of pure metal. For their latest release the band recruited bassist JJ Hrubovcak that added new blood and creativity to the group. With a relatively new member stepping in where would that leave the sound and brutality of this latest release?
Metal order within a storm of brutal chaos is where this latest release comes through. From the haunting instrumental ‘Rebirth’, with its slow churn of deep dark sounds against the rapid fire staccato drumming of Simonetto, to the opening riffs of ‘The Eternal Ruler’ we are in for pure brutal metal. Rutan’s deep growls and riffs in ‘Eternal Ruler’ are a perfect accent to the hellishly fast and dark beat. There is no letting off of raw energy as ‘Thorns of Acacia’ comes in your face full force. Brilliantly layered riffs and notes against the incredible backdrop of Hrubovcak and Simonetto provide a death metal testament to how well JJ has fit in with Rutan and Company. Taken together, these first three songs give us pure death metal genius, in the complexity of beats, riffs, notes, and growls. Seemingly chaotic but at the same time a dark tapestry of metal takes shape covering the listener in a new and forceful fashion. Erik, JJ, and Jade chemistry has hit an all time frenzied high, leaving the listener needing more and more.
The culmination of this work can be found in the title track, which is nothing short of careering defining for Hate Eternal. It is a rich mix of time changes, riffs, the pure genius of Hrubovcak and Simonetto delivering the listener a musical moment of epic historical accomplishment. The guitar provided by Rutan is nothing short of mesmerizing, not one of his speedier pieces but rather slow, deliberate, and completely within the fabric of the song. Add in his vitriolic vocals and this track is a perfect black harmony; its no wonder that this above all tracks is the defining moment for the boys from Florida.
The closer songs on “Phoenix Amongst The Ashes” complete what the title track started. Each track just as brutally metal as the next, with ‘The Fire of Resurrection’ completing this journey, is slow driving fashion devoid of loss of energy and steam from the trio. This may be one of the slower tracks but all the elements that have brought this release to greatness are here. The beauty of Rutan’s vocals and notes are elaborately interwoven into the blackened beat to finish out what may be one of the best death metal albums of the year. Hate Eternal has delivered their career defining set of songs in perfect thunderous fashion. The current trio’s connection is apparent from the first to the last note and it is this cohesion that will drive them to continue to deliver metal at the highest levels.