By Bob Nalbandian

King of All Kings
3.0 EYES

Nate put it best when he said "for what it is, it's a great album." Basically, you get Erik Rutan (Ex-Ripping Corpse, Ex-Morbid Angel, protege of Trey Azagthoth) and Derek Roddy (ludicrously fast drum tsunami) in the same band, and there's gonna be heaping craploads of really, really fast death metal abounding before you can say "I enjoy triggered double kick drums." Rutan, who just split from Morbid Angel to concentrate on this band, is on par with his mentor now; the textures he weaves on guitar in the midst of these insanely fast tempos are impressive. Sure, lots of bands are speedy nowadays, but where someone like Krisiun will let the clattery rhythm dominate, and throw in a shredding solo to establish guitar dominance, Rutan instead creates weird, warm chords like the verse to "Servants of the Gods," making headroom for dynamics even at face-ripping velocities. But really, if we're being 100% honest, there's only so much to be done with deathgrunt, guitar, bass and drums sent hurtling through the air at 400 bpm. If you don't like really fast death metal, Rutan could play "Happy Birthday" backwards with his guitar on fire while hanging from his toes over a pit of leopards, and you're still gonna be bored. The bar is raised in this sub-sub-genre tiny bits at time, one beat-per-minute, one alien guitar solo (man, the one in "The Obscure Terror" rips, but it's so Trey) at a time. It's great for what it is, perhaps even the best, but six more bands (including Morbid Angel themselves) are itching for that crown and woodshedding to be able to play that eensy ounce faster to one-up Messrs. Rutan, Roddy and Anderson. Outside the tiny cult of speed/death worshippers, the whole thing may look a little ridiculous, a pissing contest to no benefit whatsoever... but if you do care, then duly note - Hate Eternal wins this round. Hate Eternal are skilled, drilled, and precise as any non-robots could be, and King of All Kings is the top of the heap - for now, at least. Keith Bergman

Meteor City
3.0 EYES

Big, warm, meandering, long, heavy-lidded stoner rock jams with an epic metal feel to them, doomed to a medieval nighttime sheen and baked in the desert to opacity. Spiritu are all about the poetry found at the bottom of the bottle, and they believe so hard in the gonzo redemption of thirty years of Hammer-of-the-Gods style debauchery fables, it's hard not to get a contact buzz from their enthusiasm. Six songs, not a one under five minutes (except for relatively short raver "Clean Livin'"), all paeans to "the life" and how to live it, with a huge guitar tone that gets to the chorus when it damn well feels like it, lurching along with a booming smoothness, like a molasses waterfall, calling to mind Oversoul's epic arrangements without their bursts of prog twiddlery. And talk about savvy - name another band that could drop the chorus to Murray Head's "One Night In Bangkok" into a Sabbath-plodding doom metal song! Though they teeter on the pretentious at times (the line about it "spoiling my soul to watch you watch my art" or whatever really sticks in my craw), this is a desert rat Odyssey, epic tales of endless blacktopped battlegrounds, from a gaggle of hessians who're quite prepared to lay down their sweaty lives in the chivalric service of this alcoholic, syphilitic, dangerous and delectable rouged-up bitch called rock and roll. How can ya not root for 'em? Keith Bergman

Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 7 Page 3