Hate Unbound are a five piece band and have been flying the flag of death and thrash metal since their inception in 2013 with Plague being their debut release for Finnish label Inverse Records. Hailing from Detroit, they have adapted a sound laden with both genres, paying homage to bands such as Lamb of God, Fear Factory, Pantera and Death. Hate Unbound also bring some individual touches to their songs throughout the album, keeping it fresh for the listener and adding individual touches here and there that paints a bright future for the band.
“Baptized in Lies” opens proceedings and its mid-paced at its fastest but it is heavy with the riffs, generally stomping groove laden riffs, and concentrating on power rather than speed. Hate Unbound like to throw in solos where you least expect them and not just after a verse or chorus and this is prevalent throughout the album. Vocalist Art Giammara spits forth the lyrics very much in the Randy Blythe vein but a bit growlier in places, and does a sturdy job of getting the song’s message across.
“Cut” starts off with a groove riff and again it’s the mid-paced chugging riffs that get the head nodding in approval. This is definitely one of the more out and out thrash tracks of the album, with the drums at their fastest on the whole record on this song. The second half of the song slows right down and it’s a barrel-load of chugging riffs that gets you stomping around in circles, before returning to all out thrash groove.
“Suffering” is probably where they do things the best in this album in terms of time changes. There is a mixture of all aforementioned styles and it’s definitely one of the fastest in the album. Personally I think they should pick up the pace like this more often as they certainly have the riffs and rhythm section to play it. Some nice groove riffs mid section of the song amongst head banging moments, mixed with all out ferocious riffing and drumming.
“Soiled” and “Puncture” are both out and out mid-paced thrash-fests with Art screaming forth his vocals, backed up by some nice guitar licks courtesy of Daryl and William. Some quality double bass work by drummer Franklin “Foot” Hannah, especially at the start of “Puncture” which I think he should use more of as he is clearly a competent drummer.
Title track “Plague” starts things off the strongest of the album with almost blast beats in places and has more death metal elements in the songs and riffs. Art’s vocals are also lowered a bit in this song, bringing the almost complete death growl to the fore. Overall this is probably the fastest song on the album, and I would state that it’s where I feel the structure of the song fits best.
“I, Martyr” has some nice drum work in it again backed up by the high-end riffs, and solos being played throughout the song at the prime opportunity. Hate Unbound also use the solos to signify a time change, whether it’s to slow things down or to speed things up a bit. I feel that the best solo within the whole album lies within this song.
The opening of “Grey Skies” is really the first time that we actually hear the bass player Sean Demura and it brings a Testament feel to the song, which is always a plus in my book. A groove riff follows and again time changes aplenty ensuring that it’s not always mid-paced.
Coming onto the last song, the bass can be heard again and the riffs start chugging, in preparation for what lies next – another groovy thrashy affair amongst the near-blast beats and double bass work. It definitely contains some of the best of the drumming on the whole of the album. More of the same please. There are stronger death metal elements in this song than the last couple, but mixing thrash and death are what Hate Unbound do and they do it well. Guitar solos throughout the album are not your standard thrash or death affair, in fact if there was a band I could compare it to, it would be Forbidden in their Twisted into Form era.
Overall, this album did take me a few listens to get me into, but with each listen, I found something more to like. Hate Unbound combine the elements of thrash and death metal very well and have started to build their own path in the metal world. They should leave the aforementioned bands at the beginning of this review and look within themselves and create their own path as they are all clearly talented musicians. It will be interesting to see what Hate Unbound come up with next.