Recorded at Hard Studio, Warsaw and Hertz Studio, Bialystok, October–November 2002. Engineered by Kris Wawrzak at Hard Studio; Slawek and Wojtek, Wieslawscy at Hertz Studio. Mixed and mastered by Slawek and Wojtek Wieslawscy at Hertz Studio, January 2003. “Grail in the flesh” recorded and mixed by Kris Wawrzak at Hard Studio, November 2002. Produced by Adam ‘The First Sinner’ and Hate.
Released on Mercenary Musik, 2003.
Awakening of the Liar is Polish death metal band Hate’s fourth studio album but tenth release in an impressive back catalogue that includes three demos, an EP, and a couple of appearances on compilation albums.
Poland has its fair share of death metal bands, Behemoth and Vader perhaps being the best known. I’d never heard of Hate before but judging by this album they certainly have the quality.
The production and mix is spot on, the song writing is solid death metal fare, the CD artwork is very well done (although annoyingly the lyrics inside the booklet are not listed in the same order as the tracks which means having to jump back and forth while listening through the album—perhaps the running order was changed at the last minute after the booklets had been designed). But… somehow the album failed to excite me.
The album kicks off at a rattling pace. “Flagellation” has a Napalm Death in-your-face attitude. Typically of this genre, the lyrics are bleak: “I’m the emptiness, I’ll break your soul and give you mine / Embodiment of the fire!”
“Anti-god extremity” has a cool opening riff overflowing with blast beats and staccato-ed guitars… but that slower, heavier feel is soon lost in a storm of machine gun fire, slowing down only ten seconds from the end and reconnecting with the opening riff. It’s really well done, but I’d have loved to have heard how that riff could have developed. But hey! this is straight-up death metal not progressive death metal.
And that’s the pattern that seems to be repeated throughout the album: imaginative opening riff transitioning into full-out death metal thrashing at 200+ bpm. By about track six it’s all beginning to sound very same-y.
“The scrolls” (track 6). I guess being a little longer than most songs on the album, has the opportunity to indulge in a change of pace about halfway through. It’s a welcome introduction that really helps the song breathe.
“Grail in the flesh” (track 9) is a gentle, acoustic instrumental. The kind that I loved when getting into metal back in the 80s, the kind that Sepultura, Kreator, Exodus, et al used to record. Brilliant! And definitely my highlight of the album.
As a death metal album this is bang on the money. It represents the genre well and if anyone was wanting to get into death metal you couldn’t go too wrong starting here.
But that’s perhaps my issue with the album: it represents the genre so well that it runs the risk of becoming generic.
There are some beautiful moments here (the opening to “Anti-god extremity”, the mid-song riffs in “The scrolls”, “Grail in the flesh”, and the guitar duels in “Spirit of Gospa”) but is it enough to bring me back again and again? I don’t know. The album is definitely a keeper for me, but I’ll be interested to see just how often I do return
Review score: 70%