HateSphere are one of those bands that are perpetually in high esteem amongst live audiences. Always a force to be reckoned with, no matter the line-up (and there have been a few, guitarist Peter ‘Pepe’ Lysemark Sørensen being the sole original member) the Danish thrash/death metal combo have torn up stages across Europe, the US and Asia for 20 years now.
The live setting as opposed to studio albums have always been HateSphere’s force, although I must say that the band’s latest outing, Reduced to Flesh, toggles that notion slightly.
To put it in a word, the album is a hammer.
Why? Because things come together in a way I haven’t felt they’ve done for HateSphere before.
The constant of the album is no different from the past albums: the merciless thrashing beat draws the red line. But what is slightly different this time is that Pepe and the gang have taken the song writing one notch up.
I don’t know if maturity is the right term, but the fine intro to the album, the surprising chorus for ‘Ruled By Domination’ and the church organs used in ‘Lethal Mistakes’ contribute to taking things to a level where I don’t think HateSphere have been before. And they score pretty high on the groove-o-metre, by the way.
There’s a new level of coolness with this album, simple as that.
Vocalist Esben ‘Esse’ Hansen deserves a couple of words, methinks. Esse joined eight years ago, following in the footsteps of powerhouse performers Jacob Bredahl and Jonathan ‘Joller’ Albrechtsen, and some thought they would be hard acts to follow. They were, but Esse did well, although he wasn’t as agile on stage.
The thing is, though, that Esse has grown to be the voice of HateSphere and he certainly cements that position with Reduced To Flesh with an impeccable vocal performance. What the attentive listener will notice is that Esse has developed his little tag, similar to Thomas Gabriel Fischer’s ”urgh” and Barney Greenway’s ”uh”; Esse has his ”blah”, and he does that oh so well. The ultimate expression of spite, right there.
“How sad it must be to be you”, the chorus goes for the tune ‘Petty’. Nope, I’m happy as a geezer with this one, lads. Killer stuff.
02. Corpse of Mankind
03. Nothing is Definite
04. Ruled by Domination
05. Reduced to Flesh
06. Can of Worms
07. Lethal Mistakes
10. Descipable You
Playing Time: 44 minutes
Peter Lyse Hansen - guitars
Kasper Kirkegaard - guitars
Mike Park - drums
Esben "Esse" Hansen - vocals
Jimmy Nedergaard - bass