"The Great Bludgeoning"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Ex-Hatesphere frontman Jacob Bredahl would probably describe his brutal departure from the Danish band he headed up for years as "The Great Bludgeoning". That was a rough exile and it led to me figuring that I'd heard the last from Hatesphere, seeing that Bredahl was such an integral part of the band. Well, 2011 has arrived and the new Hatesphere has shocked me by delivering its most coherent and hammering effort so far.

This really does have all the trademarks of past Hatesphere work, but it is kicked up to the max and has dropped some of the rock n' roll feeling that kind of held the band back in the past. This is one mean mother of a record straddling the death/thrash divide with a masterful balancing act. It has to be said that new frontman Esse Hansen is a strong replacement for Jacob Bredahl...he has that raw kind of yelling vocal so prevalent in modern thrash. Very familiar but done very well. As for the music, it is definitely modern thrash with roots in the classics. Exodus is always a close comparison but Hatesphere put their own stamp on tunes like "The Killer" and "Smell of Death", coming up with some brutal but original riffs. I didn't think much of the slower paced "Resurrect With a Vengeance", but "Venom" is a treat with its cool vocal melodies. The real kicker is "Need To Kill", which starts with an almost happy riff barrage before turning into a crunching, multi-layered epic. The best song from Hatesphere so far! The album wraps up with the short but scorching "Devil In Your Own Hell".

Though not a genre-defining masterpiece, "The Great Bludgeoning" delivers pretty much what the title implies...and what thrasher could ask for more?