The Project Hate MCMXCIX — Armageddon March Eternal (Symphonies Of Slit Wrists)
Released a little more-than 2 years after 2003's Hate Dominate Congregate Eliminate, the fourth studio album from The Project Hate came with high expectations from fans of the band's past work. Its predecessor was a defining moment for The Project Hate, taking every aspect of the group to another level. Would Armageddon March Eternal continue this evolution, or would things finally regress to the mean? At the time, I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I had learned to trust in Kenth Philipson's vision and just await the end result.
Where Hate Dominate... was an exponential improvement in the band as a whole, Armageddon March Eternal showcasess more refinement — rather than another giant leap forward. That said, the album is still one of the utmost quality. The songs are a bit longer, but also even more varied and epic in their scope. The drums are absolutely insane on this release, backing the band's fastest songs up to this point — yet still avoiding the robotic monotony so often associated with programmed drums. The guitar riffs also up the technicality once again; retaining the expected grinding groove that The Project Hate brings to every song, yet adding some tasteful solos and lead guitar flourishes to keep things fresh over the course of such long tracks.
Aside from adding another collection of quality songs to The Project Hate catalogue, Armageddon March Eternal also serves as an indication of where the band's sound is headed. The core sound of the band remains rooted in low grooves and the interplay between the savage death metal vocals and the clean female singing. Armageddon March Eternal still borrows from the wide array of influences as past efforts, but focuses them on songs that feel more straight-up death metal. The keyboards and symphonic elements are reigned in a fair bit, largely serving as intra-song segues rather than the long, mellow passages on prior albums. That being said, the album's closer, "Loveless, Godless, Flawless," is a downtempo industrial goth number laid over a wall of guitars.
As always, the production quality on Armageddon March Eternal is simply phenomenal. Given the much quicker tempos on this record, I am really surprised the programmed drums worked at all, as only Necrophagist have managed to utilise them in high-speed death metal, to my knowledge. The guitars, despite being tuned absurdly low, still retain good tone; the layering of the rhythm a/ bass guitars, the leads, and the sundry background textures is so meticulous. Another common theme to Project Hate songs is the value of repeat listenings; there is so much going on in these songs, you will never catch it all at once. Yet, in spite of this, the material avoids sounding cluttered and impenetrable; come for the sick grooves, stay for the subtle nuances.
Armageddon March Eternal succeeds as a follow-up record on every possible front, meeting or exceeding all prior expectations. I do profess some personal bias, as the band was kind enough to solicit fan submissions for album and used a few of my contributions. I provided the 'Symphonies Of Slit Wrists' part, which informed the album cover, and also the song titles: "Resurrected For Massive Torture" and "Godslaughtering Murder Machine." This album came out during a very tumultuous time in my life; I was graduating college and moving out of my parents' house when it came out, so there are a lot of memories wrapped up in this album. I can't pretend to hide my bias, but I honestly believe that the quality of this record is so plainly obvious that it doesn't matter.
A difficult album to rate, only because of my extreme appreciation for The Project Hate. Providing closure, of sorts, to the band's existence without a live drummer, Armageddon March Eternal showcases the upper limits of drum programming talent the production technology of its time. So many elements of this album's craft are worthy of praise, not the least of which is the actual composition. The worst I could say about this record is that it's just another gem in a collection of treasures. Like pretty much everything else in The Project Hate's discography, this album is absolutely worth a listen.
Release date: October 5th, 2005
Record label: Threeman Recordings
Jörgen Sandström — vocals
Jonna Enckell — vocals
Kenth Philipson — guitars, bass, keyboards, programming
- At The Entrance Of Hell's Unholy Fire
- The Bleeding Eyes Of A Breeding Whore
- I See Nothing But Flesh
- Resurrected For Massive Torture
- We Couldn't Be Further From The Truce
- Godslaughtering Murder Machine
- Symphony Of The Deceived
- Loveless, Godless, Flawless
Published: April 30th, 2013
Edited: January 8th, 2018