HATEFUL AGONY, In the Name of God (2008, self-released)

The skull:
This skull is a martyr for all the world’s ills: a crown of thorns (or black stuff that sorta looks like thorns) sits atop his head as he sadly peers down at the futility of it all. Images of religion, money, guns and sheep are obvious or symbolic reminders that no matter what, oppression, greed, violence and conformity are comin’ ta get ya. All in the name of God, apparently.

The music:
These Germans first released music in 1998, and have self-released five albums since that time. This one is their fourth, and it kinda shows why they’ve never been on a label: they’re boring. They play fairly violent thrash with gruff, not-quite-deathly vocals, and everything you hear on the 11 songs of In the Name of God has been done before. Whether it’s a collision of Vio-lence and Kreator (“Son of Sam”) or Any-Given-Bay-Area-Thrash-Band meets Schizophrenia-era Sepultura (everything else), it comes off as competent but hardly mandatory or even important. Their influences can’t be disputed — I’ll gladly listen to all the originals, but Hateful Agony are just the sort of derivative thing I can’t get excited about. Hateful Agony seem a hapless but harmless trio of dudes out for a good time, some brews, and some early slots at mid-level festivals. Apparently they’re not super-ambitious, but hey, they can’t all be Vektor, right?
— Friar Wagner

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