The Project Hate MCMXCIX — Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures
A little more than 2 years after the release of There Is No Earth I Will Leave Unscorched, the finished product resulting from another crowd-funding experiment is upon us. As one has come to expect by this point, this latest offering from The Project Hate MCMXCIX is jam-packed full of incredibly dense, sonically diverse, finely-crafted extreme metal. The group's tenth full-length studio album, Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures is some of the group's best work to date — illustrating the depth and variety of the Project Hate's distinct sonic palette.
Six tracks, averaging 12-minutes in length, comprise the record. Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures blasts right out of the starting gate, as "Blood Design" eschews any sort of slow, building intro and opens with a sonic onslaught with a grinding death metal groove. The guitars are as downtuned — and yet somehow amazingly clear in tone — as ever, and the bass is as thick and very prominent, both blending perfectly in the mix. In no time, Jörgen Sandström's vocals come roaring in and there is no mistaking the fact that you're listening to a Project Hate album at this point.
Marking her second appearance on a Project Hate album, Ellinor Asp really hits her stride on Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures. I didn't have any significant criticism, of her work on the last record, but on Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures she sounds a bit more comfortable — with none of the mildly awkward lyrical passages on There Is No Earth I Will Leave Unscorched. The power of Ellinor's voice, and her vast range, is utilised perfectly on this album and easily cements her ranking as the best female vocalist The Project Hate have had in their employ. (To their credit, all of Ellinor's predecessors were excellent in their own regard — it's not that any of them were bad, it's that Ellinor is that good.)
Rounding out the group's sound is drummer Dirk Verburen, who has really been getting his due in the metal world as of late. After being a member of Soilwork for 12 years, he was enlisted by metal legends Megadeth. Luckily for Project Hate fans, he still contributed drums to Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures despite making the aforementioned career switch in the midst of the album's recording. This album marks a decade since The Project Hate made the transition from programmed drums to live percussion, and the material has never sounded better. All of the past drummers have made great contributions, but Dirk's playing is truly on another level; the sense of groove and precision is so distinct, and perfectly complements and ties together these dense, sprawling tracks that hop across multiple genres.
Every record from The Project Hate contains elements of a dozen disparate genres, and Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures is no exception to this rule. The core elements of blackened death metal, executed with a sound and tone evoking Meshuggah and Korn, remain as compelling as ever. Symphonic flourishes and electronica interludes continue to punctuate the group's material, without sounding forced or disjointed. Track 3, "Reign" opens with some very doomy guest vocals, before transitioning to a Mexican-style acoustic guitar run that somehow manages to circle back to crushing death metal and still feeling like the same song. The jaunts into other genres, and the judicious use of guest vocals and guitar solos really fleshes out the record and keeps these incredibly long songs from dragging or repeating themselves too much.
Approaching 2 decades in existence, and The Project Hate show no signs of losing their touch for creating epic sagas of symphonic extreme metal. Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures sounds just as fresh and polished as any of the group's past efforts, and continues the trend of pushing the audio production quality ever forward. The recording and mixing quality is among the best in the metal genre, allowing every note room to shine through on every track. As with the band's last 2 records, Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures is available in a dynamic, lossless audio mix and, like its predecessors, makes full use of the increased range of frequencies. This is another outstanding record, and I highly recommend listing to it in the highest quality audio format possible — it's well worth the effort.
As underground as they come, The Project Hate continue their streak of releasing quality albums under the radar of the majority of the metal world. Of Chaos And Carnal Pleasures is 75-and-a-half minutes of blistering, groovy, unfathomably heavy symphonic metal. The mixture of Jörgen Sandström's roars — in all their unmatched ferocity — and Ellinor's beautiful, contrasting leads is The Project Hate's most potent yet. Musically, things have never sounded better written or recorded. This record is an audio feast for metal fans, and I recommend it to all without any hesitation. My personal favourite album of 2017.
Release date: January 4th, 2017
Record label: Independent / Mouth Of Belial Productions
Jörgen Sandström — vocals
Ellinor Asp — vocals
Lord Kenth Phillipson — guitar, bass, programming, synths
Dirk Verburen — drums
Erik Rundqvist — vocals
Lawrence Mackrory — vocals
Lasse Palmqvist — vocals
Johan Hegg — vocals
Lasse Johansson — guitar solos
- Blood Design
Published: February 25th, 2018.