Hate Solarflesh

Hailing from Warsaw, Poland, blackened death metal act Hate have veered towards a brutal, more death metal-oriented sound on Solarflesh. While their recent records, including 2010's Erebos, featured a distinctly ashen veneer of black metal, especially in the guitar work, Hate have replaced that gelid, buzzing tone with something thick and muscular, along with more aggressive drumming. There's still a bit on brimstone stinking up tracks like "Festival of Slaves," and touches of choral vocals and keyboards give the record a more baroque, grandiose atmosphere than the typical tar-and-viscera feel of pure death metal. "Sadness Will Last Forever" is the highlight of Solarflesh, a vast and pummelling number with a stomping, grinding pace and some virile, vibrant solo work. Huge and hammering, Solarflesh represents a shift in course for Hate, one executed with intelligence and skill. (Napalm)