Here’s what I know about Hate Force: they play death metal, and feature members of Harm’s Way, Weekend Nachos, and Like Rats. Given this limited knowledge, I approached this record with my mind a blank slate, hoping to hear something cool. And hear something cool I did.
From the opening salvo of the album’s intro, it becomes immediately clear that Hate Force is pulling no punches on their debut LP. Where many other bands of their stripe would opt for an ambient intro of some sort, Hate Force instead comes right out the gate with a pummeling groove that sets the tone for the rest of the album. In fact, other than an ambient sample at the very end of the record, this album doesn’t let up on the heaviness at all during its 38-minute run time. Slow and low is the tempo. That’s not to say that the speed doesn’t pick up now and then, though.
Blast beat sections are scattered throughout as are some D-beat sections, and closing track “MOAB” utilizes the fast beat very effectively in its verse riff. I do wish the song “Traitors” was a hair faster in its verse riff but, otherwise, the lack of speed is a feature, not a bug. This is no-frills death metal, going for the jugular at every moment and the production matches the music’s bare-bones approach.
Every instrument is clear as a bell and allows the musicianship to shine through with the low end being extremely prominent, anchored by a thick growling bass tone. Promotional singles “Stolen Valor” and “Into the Sea” both very effectively employ the skank beat in a way that nods towards the band members’ roots in the hardcore scene. “War Machine," possibly my favorite track on this record, alternates very effectively between tempos while remaining crushing throughout and ending with a face-pummeling breakdown.
Overall, this album is an incredibly solid piece of death metal with just enough hardcore edge to give it that extra kick.
This would sit nicely in the collection of anyone who’s a fan of established acts such as Gatecreeper and Genocide Pact, or up-and-comers like Breaking Wheel and Fuming Mouth. If you are a fan of Harm’s Way, this is worth checking out as plenty of what there is to love about Harm’s Way is present here, namely that both bands are committed to being uncompromisingly heavy. But make no mistake, this is its own beast. I am hoping this project doesn’t fall by the wayside given how active Harms Way is, as I would love to get some Hate Force live dates going and another record.