Review: Hate “Rugia” [Metal Blade Records]

Review: Hate “Rugia” [Metal Blade Records]

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Here is a dark metal ride that doesn’t always live up to expectations, but definitely has its moments.

The album’s overall sound is a nice blend of black and death metal, with menacing riffs and a real eerie darkness that isn’t always as present as I’d like it to be, but can still be heard at many moments. For example, compare the title track, which serves as an introduction, and starts with this heavy riff with strange muffled screams and chanting in the background, and the last one, which sounds like an evil ritual.

The title track is also a rather fierce and heavy number. The next ones keep the same heaviness, the same low-pitched growls and energetic, almost thrash-inspired solos. The most enjoyable of those heavy headbangers would be “Exiles of Pantheon”. There are also super-heavy, imposing and dark tracks like “Saturnus”.

Another interesting thing that this album has going for it is the mystical, occult inspiration. With titles like “Saturnus”, “Sacred Dniepr” and “Awakening the Gods Within”, this sounds like a dark mythology-inspired story, and it’s something intriguing you’d like to know more about.

The almost magical atmosphere is also created by the slow, dark, eerie riffs in tracks like “Rugia” or “Saturnus”. Or the faster, almost danceable ones in “Sun of Extinction”, a real breath of fresh air on the album. This gives a nice dark tone to the album, and in its best moments, you really feel like you’re at a satanic ceremony or an epic mythological battle.

As I said, this album has its good and not so great moments. The songs quickly start feeling like retreads of each other, like “Exiles of Pantheon” being too similar to “The Wolf Queen” and “Awakening” or “Resurgence” to “Saturnus”. This album is a little repetitive, and I guess that its overall feel is been-there, done-that, nice but not all that special.

But I didn’t find anything really bad about it, and it’s not bland enough to be really boring or frustrating. I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest album ever, but it’s enjoyable enough, and it really did grow on me. It’s that kind of album that I can admit isn’t perfect, but I still have a soft spot for it. I’d really recommend it even though it’s not the best you’ll ever hear.

Release date: October 15th, 2021

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