When an album title translates as 'The Year Of Hate', you can bet your sweet ass you're in for something that is as far away from happiness as possible. To top it off, the cover shows a very pissed off man, beating you senseless with his cold, dead eyes. So much for the poetry. Here's Hate&Merda, an Italian sludge duo with some surprising influences... They find their names to be unnecessary (1 and 2). L'Anno Dell'Odio is released by Toten Schwan, UTU Conspiracy & Dio))Drone in a limited edition of 250 vinyls and 26 tapes.
Sludge metal has been evolving a lot over the past few years but Hate&Merda takes the genre back to a time when the term 'sludge' wasn't even invented yet. What we hear on L'Anno Dell'Odio is a very punk-minded version of stoner doom with very few vocals. The vocals themselves often tend to depressive black metal screams which give the music an sense of evil that most sludge bands lack.
Yet, Hate&Merda does a few other surprising things. They seem to be rooted in the experimental noise and drone scene. At least, that's the atmosphere most of the songs breathe. They remind me of concrete grey basements turned into gritty concert venues where the volume is loud and the smell is a combination of sweat, beer, urine and marihuana.
So yes, there's a lot of echo, feedback, shrieks and heavy riffing going on with Hate&Merda but the most surprising influence seems to be Nailbomb. Somehow these Italians have managed to incorporate an industrial sound to their already well-varied music, and every extreme music fan knows that "industrial with a punk attitude" spells Nailbomb (or maybe that's just me). The slow, cubrous sound of this duo, combined with that industrial touch makes this album complete and I can honestly say this is a very interesting release.
Above all, this album is very heavy and shows a duo that's experienced in a wide variety of metal genres. Today, they surprise me with a sound that seems to be a bit messy at first but shows a lot of power and aggression when played again. Even the slow, calm passages on this album are far from reassuring. It's mostly in these parts that Hate&Merda show their dark and maleficent nature, especially when they use it to build up towards an apocalyptica apotheosis when the distortion goes up and the drums are being abused.
So maybe this is one of the most original sludge albums I've ever heard or I just finally found a band that makes me like this genre a little more...