It remains easy to see why Hate Eternal were once dubbed ‘extreme death metal’, as if the standard version of the genre wasn’t quite sturdy enough to withstand their venomous approach.
As the first explosion of blastbeats and churning, hellish riffs kicks in at the start of Locust Swarm, it’s more than apparent that Erik Rutan’s reliably overpowering crew are in no mood to compromise on their refined vision of high-velocity brutality.
In truth, Hate Eternal have never quite surpassed the devastating, remorseless roar of their second album, King Of All Kings, but Infernus comes closer than any of its other successors, boasting a monstrously dense and direct production that, at times, seems to exert its own gravitational pull.
Erik’s ability to marry unbridled ferocity to songs that stick in the memory hits a new peak of efficacy here, most notably on the swirling tirades of The Stygian Deep and The Chosen One’s imperious grandstanding. Best of all, the closing O’ Majestic Being, Hear My Call evokes vivid mental images of Hell’s gates swinging open with a foul flourish of Luciferian grandeur.