Album: Navel String – EP
To be born into this world is to be born into a melting pot of emotions and experiences. There is good and there is bad–positive and negative feelings and interactions constantly butting heads and attempting to define what it is to be human. Even in spite of the fleeting merriment of “joy,” and the transient pleasure of “happiness,” there is one feeling that rises above them all; one that defines what it is to live and breathe as a human being: Hatred. It is born looped around our necks like a noose, weighing us down like cement shoes, constantly rearing its head and reigning in the shadows of our consciousness. No collection of songs better encompasses the relationship humanity has with hate better than the aptly named trio Hater and their debut EP, Navel String. To listen to Navel String is to listen to decades upon decades of human suffering g and strife–it is every negative thought and every instant of self loathing ever experienced, condensed into a downtempo deathcore masterpiece to reign alongside Black Tongue’s Falsifier and Wraiths’ Hollow.
Navel String is not simply heavy–it is smothering. Hater suffocate the listener with dense, dark instrumentation that flows into their head like smog and settles in their lungs like tar. Every second spent listening to Navel String is a second shaved off of the listeners lifespan–all thanks to Simone Pietroforte, Hater’s resident madman-turned-musician. From Pietroforte’s punishing kick drum that drives the opening groove to “Navel String,” or the haunting riff that weaves in and out of “Above You” during he build up to its climactic, crushing breakdown, Pietroforte is a master at amalgamating suffering and bitterness through sinister and brutalizing instrumentation. No EP is as constantly crushing and intense as Navel String–even during the catchy, upbeat candor of “Navel String” or the neck-snapping groove in “HVI,” Hater’s horrifying instrumentation and immense production rests like ten earths on Atlas’ shoulders, shrinking the listener’s spine. Pietroforte’s expertise spans from the chug-friendly “Wasted Generation” and “Above You” to the heavily sludge-and-doom metal influences “Redemption,” showcasing Pietroforte’s proficiency at writing, playing and producing a variety of meaty, murderous metallic styles.
As Hater’s hellish instrumentation suffocates the listener with feelings ranging from sorrow to–you guessed it–hatred, the band’s two vocalists take turns swinging visceral, throaty sledgehammers at the listener’s head. Vocalists Thomas Hansard and Jeffrey Main personify punishment and embody empathy with every syllable, telling wonderfully written stories of woe, mistrust and misanthropy. “Above You” sees the duo at the top of their game, as their gurgles and growls blend into one another’s expertly, amplifying the gritty, filthy nature of Navel String‘s mix and master. Furthermore, tracks like that and the EP’s title track contain some of the most personally powerful and bitter lyrics since Bodysnatcher’s “Abanonment.” Downtempo deathcore is not a genre known for necessarily emotive lyrics, but Hater’s are such that the listener cannot help but see red when the refraining shouts of “Above You” hit their ears. If Hater’s musicianship is the sound of humanity’s suffering, then Hansard and Main are certainly it’s voice, ringing out to pierce the skulls and invade the brains of heavy music fanatics all over the world.
Claiming to take on the sounds of Hell and define the sound of mankind’s suffering is no small feat–but it is one Hater accomplish with ease. Navel String is a masterfully produced and carefully crafted display of pure misanthropy. From the eerie onset of the EP’s introduction, Hater have the listener hooked, ears pressed to the speaker–only to blow them away with bass-heavy production that coats each instrument in a thick layer of grime without making them sound muddy–the crusty, crunchy sound of every riff and every snare crack resonates crisply, and with enough attack to split the listener’s ribcage open. However, every minute detail taken with the release’s production is to highlight how expertly crafted each song is. “Wasted Generation” and “HVI” are downtempo deathcore at its grooviest and catchiest, winding into the listener’s head with punchy percussion and raunchy riffs. However, “Above You” is Hater’s defining example of no-holds-barred heaviness, featuring a climactic breakdown that clocks in at a jaw-dropping, head-splitting TEN beats per minute. Throughout it all, Main and Hansard wreak vocal havoc–lending a solid effort that may leave some wanting in terms of diversity, but remains a perfect compliment to Navel String’smusicianship and production.
For times when even the most positive and up-beat men and women feel the urge to be steeped in anguish and disgust, there is Hater. Navel String is a feeding tube of filth, malevolence and misanthropy that, once installed, cannot be removed; only embraced.
For Fans Of: Traitors, Wraiths, Bodysnatcher, Black Tongue, Rex
By: Connor Welsh