The Project Hate MCMXCIX — Hate Dominate Congregate Eliminate
Generally speaking, when a band has existed for any great length of time (14 years, at this point), their releases can often be segregated into various categories and / or time periods. In the case of Hate Dominate Congregate Eliminate, we mark the beginning of a new era for The Project Hate MCMXCIX. The departure of Mia Ståhl, the addition of more collaborators, combined with an even more massive production sound than ever before. Every previous recording was a step forward, but the changes on this album are a giant leap.
There are many reasons that I hold Hate Dominate... was one of the best Project Hate albums; some personal, some more general. For starters, the release of Hate Dominate... also coincided with a huge increase in the band's overall accessibility. Aside from the daily interaction of the band's forum, and Kenth "Lord K" Philipson's contributions to various music websites, the band even solicited the album title from its fans. If memory serves me correctly, it was in a short-lived IRC channel for an old 'zine site that I suggested "Hate, Dominate, Congregate, Eviscerate." Lord K took that, changed the last word to 'eliminate' and the rest is history. This minor contribution is something I was — and still am — proud of, especially considering the quality of the album itself.
The production sound of Hate Dominate... is truly incredible, stretching the limits of what I thought possible with sequenced drums and looped samples. In all my years of listening to music, of all varieties, I have never heard such convincingly human-sounding drums that were 100% programmed. (To this day, I am still awed at the level of detail in the drum tracks on this record.) Jörgen Sandström's death metal vocals sound as savage as ever, finally conceding to a few mixing tricks for maximum savagery. Most noticeable, however, is the vast improvement in the female vocal department, courtesy of newly added singer, Joanna Enckell.
Where Ståhl lent a soothing voice to The Project Hate's brutal onslaught, her voice was very passive; a great sound, but there wasn't a lot of range displayed in either of Mia's appearances. In contrast, Ms. Jo stormed into the picture with a much more commanding vocal presence. Both singers' styles are quite similar, but the emotion of Jo's vocals is so much more palpable on this record. Some of this could be due to production, and I hesitate to criticise Mia's efforts — except her unenthused performance on the live Killing Helsinki album, but the fact is that listeners get a strict upgrade here.
In addition to changes in the line-up, The Project Hate's song-writing continued to evolve on this album. While the core components of the band's sound had long since been established, the increased complexity and layering of the band's arrangements really took on a whole new dimension. Along with the usual display of grotesquely downtuned guitars and crushing grooves, the backing instrumentation — in the form of electronic samples, keyboards, and bass guitar effects — really rewards repeat listenings. You can also pick out some pieces first recorded on Deadmarch: Initiation Of Blasphemy, which only saw release a a few years ago. (Most obvious is "Burn" featuring Jörgen Sandström trading verses with Dark Funeral's Magnus Caligula, first recorded as "Blodstained" with the former and another vocalist.)
Coming in at 8 tracks, and running almost the maximum length of time a CD permits, Hate Dominate... is a fairly relentless album. The album closes with the sombre, piano-driven, downtempo "Weep" — the only track to feature a single vocalist, Ms. Jo. The rest of the album is brutal fury, anchored around groovy riffs played on absurdly down-tuned guitars and further enhanced with symphonic qualities — both instrumentally and compositionally. There is no verse / chorus / verse structure to the songs, each is a long, sprawling narrative that is unconcerned with radio-play or pop-style brevity. Each track includes melodic breaks, or electronic interludes that perfectly parcel out the sonic violence. The whole album expertly balances heavy rage and melodic sorrow for the entirety of its playing time. There are no duds in The Project Hate's discography, but Hate Dominate Congregate Eliminate is a pivotal release.
Personally speaking, my favourite album in the entire discography of The Project Hate MCMXCIX. Something about this record, when it released, made a serious impact on me during my formative years. I turned 20 a couple of weeks after the release of Hate Dominate Congregate Eliminate and experienced a lot of life-defining moments around that time, as well. This record was my personal soundtrack and, as such, is inextricably linked to a great time in my life. Even without the added personal significance, Hate Dominate... is truly a masterpiece, both in intent and execution; a Christ-hating monument of crushing, sonic brutality.
Release date: August 25th, 2003
Record label: Threeman Recordings
Jörgen Sandström — vocals
Jonna Enckell — vocals
Kenth Philipson — guitars, bass, keyboards, programming
Peter S. Freed — additional guitar
Rickard Alriksson — backing vocals
Emperor Magus Caligula — backing vocals
Morgan Lundin — backing vocals
Published: April 30th, 2013
Edited: January 5th, 2018