ATF Sinner: Vocals / Guitar
Since 1991 Hate have lived up to their name, responsible for some of the angriest and most ruthless death metal unleashed upon the world. With 2017's Tremendum they took a step toward a darker, more atmospheric, black metal-oriented style and began exploring Slavonic mysticism, and new album Auric Gates Of Veles boldly continues in that direction. "We wanted to go deeper into the subject, both musically and lyrically," asserts vocalist/guitarist ATF Sinner. "We also wanted to record a sharper and better defined rhythm section, a more death metal-oriented one. When it comes to guitar sound, it was meant to be a wall of sonic destruction with dark ambient elements in the background." To say that they achieved that which they set out to create is an understatement, for Auric Gates Of Veles is a titanic record that is both more organic and dynamic sounding, and may well be the finest of their storied career.
With the ominous rumble that heralds the commencement of opener "Seventh Manvantara" giving way to a squall of guitars and blastbeats it is clear that Hate are playing at the top of their game. Pro-gressing through the rampant thrashing and wide open spaces of "The Volga's Veins", the haunting, crushing grooves of the title track, the equally sinister and tragic sounds of "Salve Ignis" and conclud-ing with the raw black metal of closer "Generation Sulphur" it is a diverse record, not content to re-hash the same idea eight times. The centerpiece of the album is arguably the six and a half minute epic thunder of "Sovereign Sanctity", which demands the full attention of the listener from start to finish. "We wanted the songs to sound like anthems, and "Sovereign Sanctity" is a perfect example of such a song. I think it's also one of the best we have written in years," Sinner states. "It calls for visualization, so we are working on a video for it."
Sinner once again looks to his explorations of Slavonic lore for the record's lyrical themes, this very much present in its title. "Veles is the central figure in most lyrics on the album. It is a Slavic deity representing the dark element of existence," he explains. "The album is like an invitation to the world of Veles, the world full of Slavonic mysticism. It's like looking on a tradition that long pre-dates Christianity and gives you a new perspective on the past as well present day. So much of it can be related to today's world. You can learn a lot from it." Each song follows its own path, as with the music not repeating themselves from one track to the next. "Seventh Manvantara" is about "the deep-est roots of the Slavic world, which is Indo-Iranian civilization, with the prophet Zoroaster as one of the main figures. The song unfolds like a journey through the civilizations to which Zoroastrianism built foundations, while "The Volga's Veins" offers a perspective on some events in the history of Russia, seen through the eyes of the River Volga, witnessing some of the most bloody conflicts in the country's history." "Sovereign Sanctity" is about someone dying in battle but not leaving the material world completely. "We see him still existing beyond the material world making a long a journey throughout the realm of Veles to finally return. This text touches on a number of existential questions."
Recorded at Hertz Studio, Poland and produced by the Wieslavski Brothers, the band's touring guitar-ist Dominik "Domin" Prykiel added ideas to most of the songs on the album while drums were han-dled by longtime drummer Paweł "Pavulon" Jaroszewicz. Bass duties were handled by Vesania's Filip "Heinrich" Hałucha, who also played on Hate's 2015 Crusade: Zero, Thunderwar guitarist Witold Ustapiuk contributing a solo to "Path To Arken", while Michal Staczkun worked with the band "on the dark ambient, industrial elements of the songs." The biggest challenge in making the record - as is often the case - was time. "We worked on the material for three months with some breaks. At the end of the whole process you feel like you are pressed for time and you need to com-plete it, find the final form, final shape of the mix, so it is a quite intensive and stressful moment. But I think the final result is great." Indeed, with the album in the bag the band are now able to start looking ahead, working on music videos and planning for the live shows at which they will begin to play the tracks of Auric Gates Of Veles, promising many changes in stage design related to the album's themes. "In the era where so many albums feel like status updates, Auric Gates of Veles isn't just Hate trying to fit itself into 2019. Auric Gates of Veles is a stand-alone piece that speaks for itself. Excuse the pun but whether it's your gateway into our music or your 11th outing with us, we hope you'll see this album as we do - a unique, ferocious and multi-layered piece. We invite fans old and new to sink their teeth in, and be advised - the first time you hear it, it's just the beginning of understanding this album and the bigger story it fits into."