Album: Requiem Aeternam
Sometimes I like to play a game–it’s a little morbid, but bear with me. I go through the compendium of music in my library, through the nostalgic pop-punk hits and the filthy, furious downtempo deathcore releases both, and think: what album would I want played as the soundtrack to my death? Right off the bat, you can more-or-less cross off everything up-beat and poppy; leaving just sullen aggression and depressive atmosphere. It’s always been a toss up between something brutish and forceful or somber and ethereal—as very few albums have ever managed to do both simultaneously—until now, that is.
Hater’s latest release and debut full-length, Requiem Aeternam, is not just the album your life could end to, but the album the entire world could end to. Built on a solid foundation of low, slow downtempo and rounded out with both quick, pulse-raising grooves and immense, sprawling adventures in dissonance, Hater combine everything from groovy deathcore to blackened post-metal to smother the listener in suffering most pure.
The entirety of Hater’s instrumentation and songwriting on Requiem Aeternam is the brainchild of Simone Pietroforte, who builds with booming, beefy drum patterns and thick, gritty guitar as if they were Legos. After the empty (and pointless) introduction, every second of Hater’s debut full length album is carefully constructed to shrink the listener’s spine beneath tediously layered sheets of stifling brutality. “In Vain” does this exceptionally well—beginning with an insidious, creeping groove that quickly grows into a riffy, anthemic display of blackened aggression. “Crown of Thorns” and the segue into “Raptus” also does this—with Pietroforte’s drumming building up to catchy, almost quick footwork before diving back to the ground with earthy, enormous breakdowns that—while still markedly faster than “Above You” and it’s ten BPM catastrophe—are still just a hair’s breadth above a snail’s pace. Meanwhile, “Terror,” while still sludgy and dense is also bouncy, as Pietroforte adds quick blasts and eerie lead riffs here and there to keep the listener engaged before plunging them into dark, lurid and slamming breakdowns without mercy.Pietroforte’s writing is enormously stepped up from Navel String, which hinted at Hater’s ability to do more than slow, noisy deathcore but failed to deliver. Requiem Aeternam is a full-bodied album that bounces, grooves, riffs—and of course—chugs it’s way right through the listener’s skull and into the auditory cortex of their brain.
Where Pietroforte’s maturation and growth as a songwriter is evident on Requiem Aeternam, the real boost comes from new vocalist Davide Aroldi. A new voice capable of unfathomable low growls and shocking screeches, Aroldi takes Hater’s wealth of potential and cashes it in, claiming the band’s rightful mound of musical merit. From the first barks and roars of “Proclamation,” Aroldi indeed proclaims his dominance over the sprawling soundscapes Pietroforte writes—asserting his talent in the form of an immense range and remarkable endurance (the latter especially evident on the quick “Raptus”). However brilliant Aroldi’s performance, it is important to note he isn’t alone: as he is joined by powerhouse Andrew Patterson and fellow newcomer to the heavy music game, Jerret Aubert—among others. Aroldi’s ability to work well with a variety of voices (Aubert’s feature is especially noteworthy) is the icing on the cake of his crushing performance, giving Hater the vocal excellence they needed.
Hater do a lot of things right on their debut full length release. Their use of cinematic atmosphere and thinly-spread atmosphere to contrast their major points of murderous heaviness shows a huge development in songwriting and style. Sounding like the bastard child of The Sign of Four’s Sick of Being and Black Tongue’s The Unconquerable Dark, Requiem Aeternam is both arid and aggressive. However, the album’s introduction—as well as the lengthy empty pause in the album’s concluding (and title) track—both seem completely pointless, with both of them often getting skipped over after the first painstaking listen. Because of this, Hater may have come an immense distance since their debut EP, but they still have just a little more to grow—as there are the aforementioned bits of errant emptiness that could be trimmed to provide a more fluid and streamlined (albeit monstrous) listening experience. However, this may be moot—as by the time “Requiem Aeternam” has faded into the void it leaves in its wake, there may not be much of a listener left.
For Fans Of: Black Tongue, Bodysnatcher, The Sign of Four, Fit for an Autopsy
By: Connor Welsh