Hailing from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Hate Division are an absolutely vicious deathgrind outfit who churn out a technical and groove-laden style of metal influenced by the likes of Man Must Die, Misery Index and Origin. Their debut album, Strategy of Obsolescence, was released in 2011 and appears to have flown under a lot of metalheads radars, which is a shame, because these guys sure are talented harbingers of chaos. Despite this, Hate Division are going strong in the underground, and with the release of their latest album, Order of the Enslaved, these guys should begin to fit in more comfortably with the modern metal scene and hopefully start making more of a name for themselves.
The blasts and riffs begin immediately with album opener ‘Peace. Tranquility. Subsequent. Deception’, and it’s an honest breath of fresh air to hear a relatively new death metal band that doesn’t sound robotic or overly produced. The gritty production calls to mind the death metal and grindcore classics of old, and in listening through the album, it becomes more and more apparent that this was fully intentional and suits this particular album perfectly. Now, granted, the bass is virtually absent in the mix, and the drums and vocals are a little uneven, but the riffs should be at the forefront of the production on any death metal record, and there’s absolutely no trouble hearing those. Besides, drummer Shane Forsyth produced, engineered and mixed the record himself, which means that Order of the Enslaved is as pure the essence of Hate Division as can be.
Musically speaking, Hate Division composes songs not unlike your standard deathgrind band would, but it is by no means boring or generic. The band jumps back and forth between blasting chaos, blaring walls of guitar and head-nodding grooves, injected with reasonable amount of melody and of course, vitriolic vocals. Songs such as ‘Pornography of War’, ‘Creatures of the Grid’ and ‘Medicated’ showcase the groovier side of the band, while other tracks such as ‘The Final Exhaltation’ highlight the more grind-oriented side of the band. Order of the Enslaved even features a few softer, instrumental tracks, which actually do help with the pacing of the album, even if they’re not the most interesting musically. These softer passages also appear in songs such as ‘Stricken’, and they’re more effective in the context of an entire song, rather than just as interludes. On a more positive note, the guitar leads laid down by guitarist Howard Young, whose sense of melody and harmony are quite impressive, do add to the songs and make them more interesting. The riffs and grooves, however, are the real show stoppers here, and they greatly contribute to the album’s repeat playability factor.
The titular track and album closer is the longest song on the album, clocking in at over six minutes, and this song really shows what Hate Division are capable of as a songwriting unit, even if it is a little on the longer side. It’s a shame that the songwriting isn’t consistently good throughout the album. When bands like Misery Index write a 15-minute long deathgrind epic and succeed with flying colors, it’s hard not to compare. That being said, the guys of Hate Division are clearly very in tune to what separates good death metal from bad death metal, and Order of the Enslaved is a huge step in the right direction. Their influences shine through without being worn on their sleeves, and with a little more experience and refinement in the songwriting department, Hate Division could very easily be recognized alongside the peers they themselves look up to.
Hate Division’s Order of the Enslaved gets…