Review: Self-titled by Hate Force

Chicago Illinois Death Metal band Hate Force, who feature in their ranks James Pligge, otherwise known as Harms Way‘s frontman and both current and former members of Weekend Nachos and Like Rats fame among their line-up have released a self titled debut album. It’s a project that has been a long time in the works having released demo material in May and October of 2014.

An 81 second burst of raw chugging guitars and a loose drum pattern sets the tone with “Intro” which leads straight into first song proper “Death Sentence”. James Pligge’s vocal is almost unrecognisable from his Harms Way material with an almost Nordic Viking tone to his skull crushing growls. The raw guitar sound thunders along at a rolling boil with a live performance feel to it. Some squeals and buried feedback buzz keep things moving nicely. “Stolen Valor” brings in the growl of the intro tune before diving into blast beats accompanied by the classical Death Metal rise and fall guitar work. That is broken up by some groovier riffage and some thunderous fills. The lyrics are kept purposefully simple largely with the vocal delivery requiring so much work, with its thick black tar like quality.

Having originally appeared on the bands October 2014 demo, “Bleeding Tears” is now nearly a minute shorter this time out. It’s a full on onslaught from the beginning, buzzsaw riffs and savage vocals cutting through your ears from the very start. Talk of the World leaders destroying the masses is very much a standard of the sort of sound and it’s still as relevent now as it was 5 years ago. “Coward” is one of the longer cuts on the album and continues the theme in a relentlessly bludgeoning fashion. There are some hints at older Thrasher material in the riffs with some slow pre-“Chaos A.D.” era Sepultura gravity defying crunch. “War Machine” has more of a raw groove Metal sound to the riffage with some big crash cymbal hits before an epic mid song pounding drum solo part where the guitars take second place to a show of kit skills. The final 30 seconds has a similar section to “Davidian” by Machine Head, with a raw before a slow cycled riff that has that same vibe, though it’s hard to see the Oakland Metallers being an influence, the chord progression is very similar.

“Traitors” is the second tune to appear that was previously released in demo format, this time from the original May 2014 effort. It chugs it’s way through the verse like a monolithic beast before picking up the tempo for the pre-chorus.  “Into The Sea” has more of a lead riff than some of the other material before cutting into some blast beats briefly and then returning to the main riff. Despite some of its Blackened Death Metal moments and the technicality in the playing, by this point the album is a little bit predictable and a bit of a one trick pony. The bludgeoning vocals have a wow factor for the first couple of tracks but the lack of any tone or pitch changes means they lose some of their appeal after that. “Moab” continues the vibe of the album as a whole with some impressive footwork building an almost tribal pattern in places as the lyrics speak of trampling into dust. The fade to a piano and some cleaner guitar work for the final minute is darkly atmospheric and perhaps better placed mid album. It shows a few more ideas that could be used in the next release which will be 2025 [6/10]

Track listing

1. Intro
2. Death Sentence
3. Stolen Valor
4. Bleeding Tears
5. Coward
6. War Machine
7. Traitors
8. Into The Sea
9. Moab

“Self Titled” by Hate Force is out now and available over at bandcamp.

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