01. Two Demons 02. Behold Judas 03. The Victorious Reign 04. To Know Our Enemies 05. I, Monarch 06. Path to the Eternal Gods 07. The Plague of Humanity 08. It Is Our Will 09. Sons of Darkness 10 Faceless One2005 Earache Records
by Rob McFeters
I have been looking forward to this new Hate Eternal album for a while now, and now that I have had it in my possession, I feel like it has been completely worth the wait. I, Monarch is Hate Eternal's third album, and in my opinion, their best effort thus far. I have been a fan of Hate Eternal since their debut, and to be honest, I didn't think this unit would continue on as a serious, full-time band. When I heard Erik Rutan departed Morbid Angel to pursue Hate Eternal full-time, I was quite excited. The fruits of his labor are very apparent, as I, Monarch is the most focused Hate Eternal album to date. There is no drastic change in the band's sound, but everything is turned up past 10. The levels of precision, speed, song writing, and brutality are off the charts. The overall songwriting seems to be a mix of their two previous albums; they mix more of the groove from Conquering the Throne and the fierce technicality of King of All Kings. Every riff, every transition, sounds perfectly placed, as if the songs wrote themselves. The technicality of the guitar-work does not outshine the killer grooves of these songs either, as they are in perfect balance. Some songs, such as "The Victorious Reign", have a good old-school feel mixed with a modern death-metal sound, which is again in perfect balance. The vocals are similar Hate Eternal releases, with lower growls dominating, and higher screams reinforcing dynamics. The utter speed of Derek Roddy's drumming is fantastic, and I don't think anyone could argue with me when I say he is one of metal's best drummers. He is also one of the more creative death metal drummers, with his interesting cymbal work, in addition to his ferocious blast beats. I, Monarch is also the best sounding Hate Eternal album yet. The production, handled by Rutan himself, is absolutely crushing. However, it's not overly slick either. Like everything else on the album, the production is in perfect balance, sporting a good, clear sound, and punishing, thick tones. Bottom Line: Hate Eternal have outdone themselves with this newest record. While other Hate Eternal fans might not agree that this is their best release, I'm sure they will still enjoy this album thoroughly. I, Monarch has everything that a fan of death metal could ever want, and I'll dare say this could be the death metal album of the year. This is a modern death metal masterpiece.