The Rickety Old Shack

The Project Hate MCMXCIX — In Hora Mortis Nostrae

album cover

Keeping in line with every record The Project Hate have ever released, In Hora Mortis Nostrae once again takes things to another level. Each previous album has showcased a continual improvement in the production and song-writing qualities of The Project Hate. In Hora Mortis Nostrae takes an even further step than prior releases, and dispenses with the group's somewhat trademark programmed drum sound. Despite this rather fundamental change, however, the group doesn't lose any of its identity of unique qualities with this change — as significant as it is.

For all the forum speculation I was privy to, as to what it would be like if The Project Hate enlisted a live drummer, we finally got an definitive answer to that question. In Hora Mortis Nostrae features excellent drum work courtesy the newly recruited "Mojjo." In hindsight, any concerns about what The Project Hate would sound like with live drums seemed silly, as this record shows they sound pretty much exactly the same — but with more subtle nuances in the percussion tracks. While hardly a rehash of previous work, there are certain progressions and rhythm patterns that are hallmarks of The Project Hate — such as the breakdown in "Damnation Is Forced Upon The Weak" — that listeners of the group's past albums will notice.

At this point in time, the basic foundation of the band's sound is well established yet somehow they continue to make each new release sound fresh and exciting. In Hora Mortis Nostrae is no exception to this, being one of the band's most acclaimed albums. Taking advantage of ever improving studio technology and experience, the band turns in another collection of anti-Christian death metal that defies the notion of easily categorised music. Ms. Jo's vocals soar above deep, brutal grooves and brood in moments of dark, depressing calm. As always, her counterpart in Jörgen Sandström provides a caustic, savage, relentless death metal growl as his contribution.

The guitar riffs are a mix of catchy, foot-stomping grooves and merciless death metal bludgeoning. All told, this album is an expertly balanced mix of beauty and brutality; soft, calm moments interspersed with crushingly heavy passages that dominate the bulk of the record. Conceptually, this album is covering the same ground as past releases, but the niche The Project Hate has carved out for itself is so vast that nothing feels laboured or rehashed. The few reprises of past efforts are short, but noticeable — almost like the group is flexing its new muscle (the live drummer) and still acclimating to it.

My only real problem with In Hora Mortis Nostrae is the limited release this record saw. It seems as though StromVox, the label responsible for this album's release, didn't issue all that many copies, so finding a physical copy will probably be an expensive proposition. Personally, I had to hit-up Lord K — whom I have pestered with my nonsense on-and-off for over a decade — and managed to buy a copy for myself and a friend directly from him. I forget what I paid, but it was worth it. Aside from presenting that as a statement to how acommodating The Project Hate are to fans, this is how much I enjoyed this album and wanted to remunerate the creators for it.

At the time, when I first heard In Hora Mortis Nostrae, I hadn't been paying attention to music very much — if at all — for several years. I was late to the party on this one, having been dealing with a lot of personal life matters. When I finally got to listening to this record, it was like picking up where I left off; what better way to get back into extreme metal than with a brand new record from my favourite project. This album very quickly reminded me why I hold The Project Hate in such high esteem, and look forward to every new release they announce.

Summary

A hallmark album, as The Project Hate finally forego programmed drums in favour of a live player. In Hora Mortis Nostrae is a great album, and features some of the band's most groove-heavy tracks. Following the release of this record, and it's follow-up, The Project Hate really ramp up the death metal components, and focus more on the guitars and traditional instrumentation. In Hora Mortis Nostrae is a definitive release from the group, ushering in the use of live drums and continuing to meld crushing death metal with catchy grooves and haunting moments of melody. "Damnation Is Forced Upon The Weak" and "Crawling Through Fields Of Infinite Carnage" are two of my all-time favourite songs from The Project Hate, and they appear on this very album.

Album Information

Release date: September 15th, 2007
Record label: StormVox Records

Jörgen Sandström — vocals
Jonna Enckell — vocals
Kenth Philipson — guitars, bass, keyboards, programming
Mojjo — drums
Sebastian Reichl — keyboard and guitar solo
Boudewijn Bonebakker — guitar solos

Track Listing

  1. Annihilation Of All That Is Holy
  2. Crawling Through The Infinite Fields Of Carnage
  3. Serenades Of Rotten Flesh
  4. For Our Name Is Chaos Eternal
  5. Tear Down The Walls Of Heaven
  6. Damnation Is Forced Upon The Weak
  7. The Innocence Of The Three-Faced Saviour

—by Derek

Published: April 30th, 2012