HATESPHERE
"The Sickness Within"

(SPV)

01. The White Fever
02. The Fallen Shall Rise In a River of Blood
03. Reaper of Life
04. Sickness Within
05. Murderous Intent
06. The Coming of Chaos
07. Bleed to Death
08. Heaven Is Ready To Fall
09. Seeds of Shame
10. Chamber Master
11. Marked By Darkness

RATING: 7/10

"Melodic Swedish thrash" is a term that may make your eyes glaze over these days. But two things you should know about HATESPHERE — one, they're Danish. Two, they put a lot more emphasis on the "thrash" than the "melodic" portion of that epithet. HATESPHERE do little in the way of experimentation or progressive straining here, opting instead to stick with meaty, riff-driven thrash that'll mightily please the faithful.

Songs like the ripping "The Coming of Chaos" and powerful opener "The White Fever" will call to mind "Made Me Do It" era THE HAUNTED, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that! There's that inimitable thrash tempo, some nice twin-guitar work in a midtempo midsection, hoarse screaming vocals, and plenty of double-fisted riffs to keep any metalhead worth their salt banging away.

Of course, there's also the fact that nothing HATESPHERE does really stands out here — the band pushes all the right thrash buttons, but don't have any flair or personality of their own. The vocals, particularly, are a bit generic, and some songs are just patched-together collections of b-grade riffs (tell me there's anything that stands out about "Bleed to Death" or the plodding "Seeds of Shame", for instance).

But when they blast into a shot of pure adrenaline like "Heaven Is Ready To Fall", nitpicking and criticism goes out the window. At their best, HATESPHERE are like mainlining audio caffeine — a jolt to the system that evokes a primal reaction. They don't do much else (and based on the couple lines of cringe-inducing clean vocals they throw in, they might not want to), but it's enough to satisfy a basic hunger for speed and aggression. "The Sickness Within" won't move HATESPHERE up to the A-list of modern-day Eurothrash, but it's a fine mid-grade effort that'll keep the band opening tours and haunting the record bins until they can make that step up to the next level.

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