The route to success is paved with pride. If you want to make it, you gotta have a little bit of an ego. You’ve got to stand out. Be different. As a wise prophet once said, it’s better to make an impression than to play it completely safe. However, there’s a big difference between making an impression and using shock value or gimmicky characteristics in your music, and that’s just something many new bands learn from experience. Though some acts just don’t grow out of it. Polish blackened death metallers Hate exemplify this. Since the ‘90s, Hate have been riding the same old tired shtick of dark, anti-Christian metal which feels so ridiculously out of place in this decade that upon hearing their ninth full-length Crusade: Zero, you’d think these guys fell out of a wormhole from the 90s, with no bearing on the current musical climate.
Coming back to first impressions once again, let me just say that Hate had one hell an introduction. Back in the ‘90s, their first record Daemon Qui Fecit Terram was a brutal tour de force of spirited, angry fervor, at times sounding like if Earth Crisis made a death metal record. Since then, however, Hate have done very little in twenty years to progress their sound, adding a few underpinning melodic elements here and there, but nothing hugely substantial. Crusade: Zero sounds exactly as the band did in their glory days, and to their credit, that’s not necessarily a negative thing to be. While the band’s had an abundance of lineup changes, they’ve always had an above-competent level of impressive technical expertise, and vocalist Adam the First Sinner (because just “Adam” isn’t brutal enough, really) is always a joy to listen to with his substantially thick and monstrous vocal delivery. Now, the only noticeable changes come in the form of the songwriting, this time laden with heinous, scenery-chewing guitar leads that amplify the cheese and melodrama of their music up to the silliest Nth degree. The worst part is that Hate have always had sprinklings of self-awareness in their music, but with Crusade: Zero it’s just not clear. Rib-tickling song titles like “Hate Is The Law” and “Doomsday Celebrities” evoke the idea that Hate are trying to keep the record from going too far off the deep end in terms of wackiness, but its content just sounds so much like it was made with the utmost heart and intention that you just start to feel a little pitiful for just listening to it.
Success is something you have to work at in art. Hate do not seem to realise that you can’t expect to be as consistently good as you were in your heyday if you make no attempt to progress or mature. It’s lazy. It’s a sign of no artistic integrity. And now their music sounds so ghastly, ill-fitting and hard to take seriously that it’s as if they never changed their name from the dreadful “Somuchhate” in the early ‘90s. If maturity, progression, and forward-thinking isn’t your forte, then you might as well just be counting the days until your fans just stop caring.