Label : Season of Mist

Review by Stina

“Bleeding the New Apocalypse” sounds quite like an appropriate album title to frame this relentless Swedish entity at this point of its history: supported by a new deal with one of the leading labels in the metal world (namely French Season of Mist) secured in the latter half of 2010, recorded with a new and functional line-up aided by a string of renowned guests and crafted with an amount of ambition that drips from every single sulphurous note, the result of The Project Hate MCMXCIX’s latest foray into the studio represents more than just their eight album. Described by mastermind Lord K. Philipson (guitars, bass, programmings, keyboards and backing vocals) as the band’s ‘monumental masterpiece’, it condenses all the determination of an act that’s thirteen years into its career and finally ready to garner the attention and clamour it deems to deserve. Looking at things from this perspective, even the entrance of vocalist Ruby Roque (Witchbreed, Extreme attitude) seemed to happen by design: the newly recruited singer and lyricist storms through the six spiralling and intricate tracks of “Bleeding the new Apocalypse (Cum Vitrictiis in Manibus Armis)” with a belligerent and incendiary performance that seems meant to herald the spirit with whom this release has been assembled. Within the demoniac musical constructions of The Project Hate MCMXCIX, aiming for a dark and aggressive contamination of punishing Death Metal blasphemy (modern in its core, though loosely influenced by the widely known trademark sound of the country of origin, as one would expect by an act with a former Grave/Entombed vocalist and a touring bassist/guitarist for Dark Funeral in their ranks) and industrial/electronic temptations, the female presence always retained a defining role, first incarnated by Mia Ståhl, who joined the fold in the eve of the release of the band’s debut “Cybersonic Superchrist” in February 2000, and then passed on to Jo Enckell, who entered the line-up in late 2002 and adorned the band’s sound with her crystalline, velvety voice until last year, when she handed the baton to Ruby. With the Portuguese’s arrival, female vocals come close to take the lead with their even more prominent presence, though still sharing stage with Jörgen Sandström’s deep register growls. Alongside Ruby – and the other new insertion in the person of Torture Division’s Tobben Gustafsson on drums – the guest contributions that helped shaping this effort include Leif Edling of Doom legends Candlemass, Mike Wead of King Diamond and Bibleblack, Jocke Widfeldt of Vicious Art, and Christian Älvestam of Scar Symmetry, while the mixing and mastering work by metal guru Dan Swanö accounts for the excellent sound of the whole work. However, the biggest problem with “Bleeding the New Apocalypse (Cum Vitrictiis in Manibus Armis)” comes from the attitude of the album rather than from its construction and structure per se: there’s a looseness and self-indulgence at play, that seems to stem from the same ambition that fuelled the band to this point. The musicianship throughout is as precise and tight as one would expect, the band is playing to its full-force – yet, oddly enough, that becomes kind of the main issue: there’s a sort of tendency to overdo it and often feels overstuffed with the weight of too much impetous. Having steered the musical direction to more complex and intricated structures, here The Project Hate MCMXCIX showcase an even more marked tendency to meander, either insisting on non-linear structures and framing them into lengthy compositions (most of the tracks exceed the 10-minute mark) that inflate the total running time and do not encourage long-term listening beyond the initial minutes. Clocking in at no less than 65 minutes, “Bleeding the new Apocalypse (Cum Vitrictiis in Manibus Armis)” isn’t the type of album that holds up over a hour, its most arresting moments coming across as too sparse and in-between for its own good. It’s good for musicians to grant the priority to their own satisfaction rather than striving to please the audience – but in the case of The Project Hate MCMXCIX, an excess under this regard makes it harder for the listener to connect with the material. Fans of the band might want to inquire into this new chapter of their discography and discover Ruby’s contribution to the overall sound – having said that, “Bleeding the new Apocalypse (Cum Vitrictiis in Manibus Armis)” still feels like a record to be tried beforehand rather than one to blindly invest in. Handle with care!

Rating – 65/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Iesus Nazarenus, Servus Mei
  2. They Shall All Be Witnesses
  3. A Revelation of Desecrated Heavens
  4. Summoning Majestic War
  5. The Serpent Crowning Ritual
  6. Bring Forth Purgatory

 

Line Up

  • Ruby Roque – Vocals
  • Jörgen Sandström – Vocals
  • Lord K (Kenth) Philipson – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Programming & Backing Vocals
  • Tobias Gustafsson – Drums

 

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