Don’t you see the suffering you cause?
-- Poseydon --
|■||Alain De Block||Guitar|
|■||Tom "Lenny" Lenaerts||Vocals|
Review written by Stijn “Metal Shredder” Daneels.
Poseydon is a band that I’ve been following for more than half a decade now ever since I had shredded through their 2016 debut album “Masterpiece.” An album that had a few tracks I still go back to from time to time (like its title track) but that still didn’t leave me all that impressed looking back (you can read my old review of that album here: https://www.belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/56).
That being said, I did see Poseydon live several times over the years and I’ve always enjoyed their fast-paced and atmospheric performances. Now Poseydon has finally returned with a new album called “Through the Gate of Hatred and Aversion” and with a new vocalist leading the charge (a singer I’m quite familiar with as well) I’m curious to see how this new Poseydon full-length will shred.
“Through the Gate of Hatred and Aversion” is the second full-length of the Belgian death/thrash metal veterans Poseydon and is released via Necktwister with Sonic Rendez-Vous providing the distribution. And finally, thanks to our Dutch friends over at Hard Life Promotion for sending us a promo mail. After an ambient and near the end quite cinematic opening sample called “Rise of Poseydon” the album kicks off with “Awakening of the Gods” as the guitars shred and the drums pound intensely with the sound of heavy rainfall faintly audible in the background. Then newly crowned Poseydon vocalist Tom roars his way through the track amidst marching beats and the typical Poseydon drilling riffs. Quite an effective opening I’d say and that’s already an essential part of any good album in my book.
Next up comes the frenzy called “Contrition.” After an effective buildup this track rips and tears at frantic speeds thanks to the head-bang inducing drums, the drilling guitars and the vicious screams that feel surprisingly natural. There is a short moment of “peace and reminiscence” near the end only to bring the carnage at full-speed again. If this tune won’t be causing some moshing then I don’t know what will. The following track is “Haunted Souls” and feels more metalcore inspired and reminds me of the gone but not forgotten Belgian metalcore band Our Hate (more on that particular band later). I also like the sense of melody and groove within this specific song.
The album’s fifth track is “Rise of the Kraken.” Enjoyable, but not that memorable overall except for the multi-layered vocals in the beginning and the powerful ending. The rest of the song is just some solid jamming. Nothing more, nothing less. Things speed up considerably with “Enter the Gates of Hell,” a track that is quite varied in terms of tempos, melodies and vocals (with a short section of clean vocals) and therefore feels shorter than it actually is.
The follow-up is “Human Suffering,” a slower song and one of the darkest on the album. The slower beats feel extra impactful and the short, occasional speedups actually had me caught off guard. Then comes a highlight on this Poseydon album called “The Power of Destruction and Decay.” First off, I love how it beautifully charges up the pacing and then bombards you with full on thrash power. This song also features nice guitar solo work and sharp and clearly audible basslines.
The album’s ninth track is “Artificial Intelligence,” another great track on this album that has a very confrontational message regarding humanity and its never-ending desire to obtain the unobtainable. It’s also very atmospheric tune thanks to the hard-hitting beats and echoing vocals. “The End is Near” cools things down with some slightly more upbeat melodies but the dark lyrics do provide the menacing undertone and the typical Poseydon viciousness does return at the end of this song. And finally there’s the album’s final track “For all Eternity.” A song that’s quite the descent to hell with a ton of powerfully pounding drums and long-drawn out growls. Not that bad of an ending track, but I do believe its predecessor “The End is Near” is a more suitable finale.
It didn’t took me long to realize that Poseydon’s “Through the Gate of Hatred and Aversion” is definite improvement compared to their 2016 “Masterpiece” debut. The production values alone are enough of a justification for this. Everything on “Through the Gate of Hatred and Aversion” sounds powerful and clear compared to the very muffled quality of “Masterpiece.” In addition, the songs on this new Poseydon album are more varied and put more focus on modern-day problems (and I must say those songs are quite confronting to listen to).
Of course, I’ve also got to talk about Poseydon’s new vocalist, Tom "Lenny" Lenaerts. I remember Tom from the now defunct metalcore act Our Hate which was a very pleasant discovery for me with their performance during the finals of the Wacken Metal Battle Belgium 2018 being particularly memorable. It’s sad that Our Hate is no longer active, but Tom does bring his commanding vocal delivery to Poseydon and it gives Poseydon a new, more engaging feel and since Our Hate’s songs were also focused on societal issues I believe that part of Our Hate is still alive within Poseydon as well.
The artwork of Poseydon’s “Through the Gate of Hatred and Aversion” features an entrance to hell itself with an endless river of fire and brimstone seeping throughout. The gate itself is in typical ancient Greek fashion with two hoplite statues guarding the entrance. I particularly like how rich in color the artwork is with the cold blue shades and the scorching yellow and red shades.
Thematically, Poseydon switches their songs between Greek mythology and contemporary social issues and in fact, this combo is much more effective then it may look at first sight. For those who know a bit about Greek mythology know that the Greek gods had much more human (and therefore flawed) characteristics compared to the saints, prophets and deities worshipped in the Abrahamic religions of today. And therefore, the Greek pantheon of gods were, to put it mildly, assholes who constantly demanded constant worshipping and sacrificing. Not all that different compared to the warlords, politicians and big businesses of today who constantly demand your time, attention and money.
[SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
The best tracks on Poseydon’s “Through the Gate of Hatred and Aversion” for me are “Awakening of the Gods” and “Contrition” along with “The Power of Destruction and Decay” and “Artificial Intelligence.” The only track that I would really consider weak is the rather forgettable “Rise of the Kraken.”
8,5 Tartarus gates out of 10. After hitting a few goods marks with their debut album, Poseydon is now unleashing a lot more thrash and death metal power in this successor. With more variety in its songs, solid pacing, plenty of technique and a new, commanding vocalist, Poseydon feels reinvigorated and really to entertain a ton of extreme metalheads out there. Check it out and prepare to be killed!