THIS HEART OF DARKNESS: An interview with Hate frontman ATF Sinner
It’s lingering there, inhabiting every inch of the ragged and unrelenting, brimstone-scorched entity better known as blackened Polish aggressors, Hate. The presence of something audibly greater and infinitely more powerful than ourselves. Something that far surpasses the feeble comprehension of our flawed and perishable human faculties, stretching far beyond into the darkest and most desolate reaches of the cosmos. That thing is the ruinously brutal and brilliant ‘Auric Gates of Veles’. And with the devilish quartet currently in the thick of a major world touring cycle, odds are you’re soon about to witness the ultimate manifestation of Hate in their finest and most savagely definitive form to date. Frontman Adam 'Sinner' Buszko spills all the gory, deliciously visceral details to Dark Matter’s Faye Coulman.
“A certain level of pressure can motivate you, but can be distracting too,” observes Hate main man Adam 'Sinner' Buszko on the inevitable trials and tribulations that accompany the all-consuming process of writing and recording a brand new studio offering. “Generally, at the end of recording process, time always seems to accelerate somehow. This time, however, we were able to realise our vision to the smallest details. We are really satisfied with the album.”
Indeed, however dramatically the Polish wrecking crew may have evolved and progressed since their inception back in 1991, it seems this tendency toward painstaking attention to detail has long been a defining trademark of the electrifying four-piece’s sound. Having begun the anticipated follow-up to 2017’s darkly entrancing ‘Tremendum’ in the second half of 2018, the industrious collective were already poised to unveil a pre-production comprised of three freshly recorded compositions by the close of that same year. Fast forward a further six months and, by June 2019, these meticulous composers would finally be ready to unveil ‘Auric Gates of Veles’ in its epic, coldly entrancing entirety.
“By the end of the year we had a pre-production consisting of three new tracks with full arrangements of instruments, plus vocals and samples,” the frontman notes. “Making new material is like a journey. You sometimes move faster, sometimes at slow pace, but you need to keep your eyes on what you’re aiming at. In the case of ‘Auric Gates’ we knew exactly what we wanted to achieve. It took us more than a year in all to compose the material and find the proper sound for it. Then we started talking with record labels as our agreement with Napalm had expired. There were a few serious offers, but Metal Blade was by far the best and most complete.”
With ‘Auric Gates…’ garnering universally glowing critical acclaim on its release back in June 2019, the band promptly turned their creative attentions to the equally all-consuming process of adapting this freshly completed material in readiness for the string of European live dates that followed. Underpinning pulverising extremes of hyperblasting brutality, breakneck speed and a biting viscerality of sound that audibly bristles with hostility and cold-blooded malice, this tremolo-laden beast of a long-player lends itself only too perfectly to the raw and heated immediacy of live music. With these savage compositions sourcing rich inspiration from the ancient spiritual principles of Slavonic mysticism, it seemed only appropriate that the tradition’s richly symbolic trappings and visuals should figure prominently in the intensely frenzied and ritualistic stage shows for which Hate are becoming increasingly admired.
Of the this crucial transition, Sinner states, “I thought the new songs called for visualisation in the form of scenography with elements related to Slavonic mysticism. Here on tour we have four such elements symbolising the main natural powers (realms) that archaic Slavs considered the essence of everything. On our future concerts, there will also be figures of Nighthawks (Lelek) - "messengers of death” that were treated with special reverence by the ancient Slavs. There will also be a representation of the three levels of existence or consciousness: Navia, Pravia and Javia. We are working on it now with an artist from Ukraine, who has also designed special jewellery with our symbols.”
Among the ferociously energised wealth of first-rate extreme metal contained within, it’s blistering standout ‘Sovereign Sanctity’ that perhaps most perfectly embodies the viciously untamed spirit of the album. Indeed, with its crippling slabs of crushingly anthemic fretwork and blackly transporting wealth of chilling, horror movie-worthy atmospherics, Sinner’s particular fondness for this album-defining smash is scarcely surprising.
“I value all the songs on the album, but some seem to be more important than others,” the vocalist muses. “We wanted the songs to sound like anthems and 'Sovereign Sanctity' is a good example of such a song. I thought it called for visualisation, so we decided to make a video for it. It was shot in a number of natural locations in the southern part of Poland. The song is about someone dying, but not leaving the material world completely. We see him still existing somewhere beyond the material world making a journey through the realm of Veles. The lyrics touch on a number of existential questions as well.” Turning his attentions, finally, to altogether more earthly considerations, the tail-end of November sees Hate hitting the road once again for a major touring cycle alongside mesmerising black metal fiends Batushka. Sinner elaborates, “Now we are on Scandinavian tour with Vader, Thy Disease and other bands. From there, we will play one more tour in North America in December this year. Next year we will be touring a lot in Europe and elsewhere, so I guess we will visit the UK too.”