Hate – Crusade: Zero (Napalm)Thursday, 5th February 2015
If there’s one thing that Hate has had some difficulty with over the years, it’s avoiding comparisons to their fellow countrymen Behemoth. It has to be particularly frustrating for the band, as they’ve been doing their thing since the early ‘90s (admittedly with a number of line-up changes over the years) and Crusade: Zero is their ninth album. But the need to compare something to others is practically unavoidable, and some of the merits aren’t completely unfounded. It is black/death metal from Poland after all.
After hitting us with two consecutive intros (perhaps because one simply was not enough?), Hate reels it in with “Death Liberator” and the festivities are free to begin. Certainly the Behemoth comparisons come into play, but there are just as many Morbid Angel-isms that the band utilizes as well. The frequent usage of blast beats gives the band a frenzied approach from time to time (see the title track), but the number of mid-tempo crushers seems to equalize much of the band’s approach (which has not evolved much over the years). Unfortunately, there seems to be a number of missed opportunities on the riff-end of this album. Some of the possibilities for powerful, mid-tempo riffs just seem to fall flat on their face, stripping the energy from the band (“Leviathan” is a notable exception here). While there are some nice, melodic solos that help to keep things moving it’s not enough to overcome the shortcomings in the riff department.
Add this to a rather bloated 55-minute runtime (in addition to the 2 intros, there are 2 more short interludes that seemingly go nowhere), and Crusade:Zero comes across as having more faults than virtues. For such a veteran band, this one seems a bit underwhelming. Longtime fans may still get a kick out of the band’s approach, but for most others this is one that can be easily shelved.