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Hateful - Set Forever on Me Award winner

Set Forever on Me
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 09 November 2020, 6:39 AM

Daniele Lupidi is on absolute fire this year!   In addition to the latest (and excellent) VALGRIND album “Condemnation,” from the summer of this year, he now graces us with the third HATEFUL album, “Set Forever On Me.” This is a death metal album of many, many dimensions.  On the surface, I can definitely see how someone may find it technical.  It is certainly flashy and inventive in places—and, of course, the musicianship is finely focused and razor sharp.  The production is near perfect: it allows plenty of clarity for the mix to shine through but doesn’t lose the edge this style calls for.

However, with repeated listens, other aspects of the album begin to rise to the surface.  The technical aspect never goes away but it will begin to take a back seat to more important focuses. As I previously stated, the songs may be flashy but they aren’t over indulgent— the writing relies on meaty death metal first and foremost.  Riff focused movements, heavy handed bass, rapid fire drumming, and infamous death growls show a band that exists as both futurists of the genre yet recall more of an old school way that one would think upon first listen.

So with that said, this album exists in these two worlds for a sterling and brutal combination of technicality and bulldozing death metal.  However, it continues to reveal even more secrets across its eleven tracks within its thirty-eight minute run time.  I love albums that reveal more about themselves upon each listen and “Set Forever On Me,” is one of those that is dense with layers upon layers.  With every press of the play button, with every repeated listen to each track, my ears caught something I didn’t notice before.  And more often than not, I also found my focus renewed on each track as if each time I listened was the first time doing so.  I will even go as far to say this album is lush with harmonies, melodies, and moments of surprise…lush being a word that I rarely use to describe such an abrasive creature as death metal.

On The Brink Of The Ravine,” begins with many frantic motions from both the bass and drums for a movement of nervous energy that would be a similar feeling to be so close to a long drop into oblivion.  The guitar riffs are quite the hammer on this song, pulling in every element around it to take that roaming energy and harness it into something so unrelenting that a bullet hitting a train can only barely describe how unrelenting it is for the song’s bigger picture.

Oxygen Catastrophe,” crams more in under three minutes than some bands do with songs three times as long. This particular track can be taken as a chemical combustion of energy, and rightfully so, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find it has a surprisingly methodical approach that gives the speed meaning.  It all leads up to the last forty-five seconds or so that would give even the most ardent headbanger whiplash.

One of my favorite tracks is “The Irretrievable Dissolution Process On the Shores Of Time,” which is a mouthful of a track but its also a song full of everything that is right with modern death metal. The bass and guitars almost seem to be having a race to the finish but the drums keep it all reigned in even while being close to a wild animals themselves.  The last minute is the result of this seemingly restrained fury that is a mind ending experience that expands the listener’s ear even while blowing it out.

Caldera,” is another shorter track that is bursting at the seems with death metal goodness. The birth of the track is an immediate intensity but with riffs that seem to to grow as they twist into form.  The tightly wound mechanics of the guitars at the song’s halfway point is a constant bludgeon tool.  The drums favor the same amount of intensity but also reach for the stars and pull the listener around the song. Beauty can find its way into even the most dark of places, as evident by the black light of the song’s first minute of clean notes and melodic bass of “Our Gold Shined In Vain.” The atmosphere of this song is outstanding—heavy, of course, but also somewhat alien and otherworldly. There is some familiarity to it if taken as just a death metal song but the subtle hints of melody take it to new dimensions.

River’s Breath,” has a dangerous tone but a hint of daring excitement in the guitar leads.  The bass increases this energetic fervor as it duels it out with the guitars.  The solo later in the song is more like a gateway to another world, the passage afterwards a different feel than the song’s beginning but still a part of the journey as a whole. HATEFUL’s “Set Forever On Me,” is a journey wrought with many places to experience and journeys within journeys.  The hellish trip is as intriguing as it is filled with episodes of darkness that become a path to illumination the more the album is listened to.  Honestly, this is one of the year’s best death metal albums and one that will keep me coming back for a long time to come.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. On The Brink Of The Ravine
2. Oxygen Catastrophe
3. Phosphenes
4. The Irretrievable Dissolution Process On the Shores Of Time
5. Will-Crushing Wheel
6. Caldera
7. Time Flows Differently
8. Our Gold Shined In Vain
9. The Nihil Truth
10. River’s Breath
11. The Proof
Marcello Malagoli – Drums, Vocals
Massimo Vezzani – Lead Guitar
Daniele Lupidi – Bass, Vocals, Rhythm Guitars
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records


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