Handful of Hate – To Perdition (Code666 Records)Wednesday, 11th December 2013
Italian black metal band Handful of Hate has been in existence since 1993, released its first album in 1997, and has since released five subsequent albums. This most current album, To Perdition, sees these grim veterans in a furious mood, displaying machine-gun tempos across these eleven tracks of what could be described as brutal black metal.
What’s immediately apparent is that if you aren’t a fan of blast beats then move along, because this album is practically one nonstop blast beat exercise. The title track for the album kicks things off in full fury (it’s never not), and due to the fully-pro recording production (no “kvlt” tape recorder job here), you are immediately dropped into a warzone of breakneck modernized black metal, complete with fairly standard vocals rasps (sometimes doubled with growls for extra muscle) and sharp tremolo guitar lines.
Speaking of guitars, pretty tight riffage herein – all par for the course stuff, but adept playing nonetheless. In fact, the band is quite skilled and extremely tight. The bass work occasionally comes to the surface, but mainly keeps to the basement. Melodic guitar lines underscore the second track “Cursed Be Your Breast,” and add some depth to the song. As the in-your-face drum work is quite boorish across the entire album, these riffs make this one of the strongest tracks here.
Subtlety, dynamic, and atmosphere are things that are practically non-existent on To Perdition, so don’t bother trying to listen for them. There are some minor tempo variances and a couple melodic elements buried beneath the drum-storm, but the record is pretty monolithic in its uniformity. As such, just pick a song to preview (pick a song…any song) and if you like it, you’ll probably like the rest of the record. If not, well, stay away.
With a terrible name like Handful of Hate, I have to believe it might have sounded better in Italian. Name aside, it’s obvious that these guys know what they’re doing, and they do it well. One could make some stylistic comparisons to Behemoth, but quality comparisons between the two would be hard to make.