Crucible of Hate – The Unknown Path (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 30th August 2023
Rating: 7.5 / 10

It’s hopeful that seasoned musicians in a specific scene when connecting in a newer act will already have a lot of the chemistry/style issues worked out to just set forth on establishing themselves in a quicker fashion. Crucible of Hate features musicians from the Ohio scene that go back to the 90’s/2000’s with other acts in the black metal, thrash, or melodic death realms. Emerging in 2016 they would release a couple of demos plus their debut album Dark Metamorphosis before the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down productivity. The Unknown Path is the sophomore follow-up, a ten-track outing that showcases a quartet intent on executing a mixture of death to groove metal influences to illustrate dynamic diversity at play.

Getting right down to business in a low-toned, mid-tempo groove-like fashion through opener “March of Truth”, it’s self-evident that these gentlemen lean on a potent rhythm guitar assault against solid bass/drum foundational mechanics – as bassist Dan Rivera unleashes a raspy growl/scream vocal delivery like the work of Carcass or Immolation. Many of the basic arrangements contain the requisite shifting riffs, natural transitions, plus energetic stops/starts – fleshed out by occasional highlights from specific musicians (Matt Rivera’s tribal-like drum opening to the swampy title cut one example). A quieter instrumental “Isolation of Accountability” midway through the record serves as a collective breather before the quicker paced “Fraudulent Existence” pounds all senses, guitarists Donny Phillips and Pete Rensch delivering some sinister main hooks and crunchy, bouncy riffs in a rougher Pantera meets Meshuggah way. Although most of the material has a compact nature, the four-piece extend themselves into longer terrain for the 8:26 “Legacy”, the instrumental sections featuring more of a progressive, gallop-oriented nuance a la Metallica or Megadeth, kept closer to the underground through Dan’s vicious, rhythmic growls and fiery screams.

The Unknown Path is one of those meat and potato, hearty efforts that won’t exactly set trends or conjure ravage praise for changing the course of the death/groove metal genres. Instead, just enjoy the headbanging, neck whipping action that should occur after modest ingestion of these tracks from Crucible of Hate.

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