To The Nines

Written by: AP on 08/04/2009 18:32:31

So much has already been said about the shuffle in this band's camp last year that it's hardly necessary to revise it in great detail now. Nonetheless, as one member after another packed his bags and bounced, the departure of vocalist Jacob Bredahl as the last straw, it was generally expected that Hatesphere would call it quits. Indeed, for a while news from the band were both scarse and vague - something about an ongoing search for a new vocalist that seemed to be going nowhere - not that it was a surprise considering that Jacob left behind him a pair of enormous boots to fill. Picture the surprise, then, when it was announced in early November that a previously unknown nineteen year-old had feet big enough to wear them, and was going to make his live debut with the band with just two weeks' notice. Much praise was afforded him then, and, as the band's latest offering "To The Nines" shows, not without reason.

Not only does he have the necessary charisma to front a band of jesters like Hatesphere in a live setting, his voice also betters Bredahl's tenfold. It's sufficiently similar so as to not cause too much alienation between "To The Nines" and its predecessors, but at the same time, refreshing and new, and, I must stress, fucking brutal. That such mayhem can come out the mouth of someone as young and inexperienced as Jonathan "Joller" Albrechtsen is a testament to the convalescence of the Danish metal scene, crippled and silent until Volbeat opened its door. And if Volbeat opened it, then Hatesphere kicks it in their face with their most brutal, in-your-face record to date. Gone is the subtle experimentation of "Serpent Smiles And Killer Eyes" that earned the band the respect of critics worldwide; in its place is a more straightforward, albeit arguably more varied, mix of death- and thrash metal that feels more like a continuation from "The Sickness Within". At the same time it nods to the band's earliest work, heavily influenced by the Gothenburg scene, which is apparent in the consistent, if downplayed melodies that linger beneath the thick riffing. But to liken such undertones to melodic death metal is to defame the unique sound this band has spent the length of its career perfecting.

Yes, "To The Nines" is very much a Hatesphere album. In fact, it's compelling to call it the Hatesphere album. Pepe's song-writing does not reach for the skies, as usual, but instead focuses on a less is more kind of approach, which involves his signature dense groove, plenty of shredding and low-key melodies. But it really is the band's new little brother Joller who steals the show. Blood, beers and Satan have been exchanged for deeper and more thoughtful lyrics in a joint enterprise involving him and new bassist Mixen (which might have something to do with the fact that he is a former ska/punk bassist with no previous experience from playing in a metal band), and did I mention that voice? At just under 35 minutes, this album is not messing around. It comes with the momentum of a large meteor entering our atmosphere and leaves in its wake a soundscape of total annihilation - and some of the best balls-to-the-walls metal available.

Download: To the Nines, Backstabber, Cloaked in Shit, Oceans of Blood

For the fans of: Cavalera Conspiracy, The Haunted, Koldborn

Listen: Myspace

Release date 23.03.2009


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