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. 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. Progressing 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 concluding with the raw black metal of closer “Generation Sulphur”, it is a diverse record, not content to rehash 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.