Hate Squad is a seminal thrash metal band from Hannover, Germany. They’ve been making ears bleed and brains springboard inside skulls for over 25 years. The driving force behind Hate Squad is Burkhard Schmitt -singer/songwriter/CEO and A&R man (Violent Creek Records)/owner of an internet radio station (Thrashking). There is nothing this beast of a man can’t do! Thus, Reborn From Ashes on Massacre Records is a thrash album of driving force. Joining Schmitt to make this the seventh blistering Hate Squad album are psycho drummer Helge Dolgener (I mean seriously! Have you heard him play?), Bauke De Groot on bass (who does say more than “I am Groot.”), and the twin guitar killers Mark Kunnemann and Marcel Griese-Kwansnik (literally ZOMG on those riffs).
Reborn From Ashes is such an amazing album it’s hard to know where to start. How about with the fact that Hate Squad is one of the best (and always have been one of the best) thrash bands around? Truth. The song writing is concise. The lyrical material is topical. The music is unrelenting. One of the great things about Hate Squad is that thrash is just one piece of the arsenal they wield. The band’s music has a swagger. There is an undercurrent of groove. Helge Dolgener decimates the drums. He is hard core. Kunnemann and Griese-Kwansnik can deliver stock thrash riffs, heavy metal shredding, power chords, and intricate classical compositions that Paganini would be proud of.
‘Against All Odds’ opens the album. The double kick on the drumming is like machine gun fire. It’s the perfect circle pit song. Burkhard’s vocals on ‘Death List’ are downright fiendish. ‘Amok’ reminds me of a Viking sledging thru muck and mire to the smithy to have his battle axe fixed. Title track ‘Reborn From Ashes’ is neutron star heavy. ‘Retaliation Promise’ oozes menace and hate. ‘Until I Die’ is the perfect manta, “…until I die I will fight for my dreams… until I die… I believe in myself…” ‘Regain the Strength’ is a mass of different elements that can be jarring. ‘Know Your Enemy’ is a glorious mixture of all the band members. Each instrument shines on this track. My favourite lyrics are on ‘Hate Factory’, hello darkness. ‘2 Miles Behind Enemy Lines’ has the signature Hate Squad sound. It’s a head banging, snarling, wicked, romp across the musical landscape. Reborn From Ashes ends with a very succinct and to the point ‘Fuck Cancer’. ‘Nuff said.
Hate Squad have proven that they are still a force to be reckoned with. Reborn From Ashes is a strong album from start to finish. Everything you’ve ever loved about thrash and metal are here on Reborn From Ashes. Everything you love about Hate Squad is here as well. Do yourself and your mates a favor, buy this album when it drops on December 7th. Then, go forth and play loudly and often!