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Hate Gauge - 'Hope, Envy, Love & Lies' (self released) 4.5/5

Hate Gauge hail from Pembrokeshire in West Wales, and when they list Stella Artois and kebabs amongst their influences I had a feeling they would be right up my street. They have put out a few eps in recent times and now they have issued this six track mini album.

The moment I started to play this album and heard the opener Metal Messiah and found to my delight it sounds like Tokyo Blade, Persian Risk and Tygers Of Pan Tang style NWOBHM with lyrics to match; "Hand in the air like a metal messiah; on a long cold road out of hell...", I knew I was onto a bit of winner; and its gets better as you go along. One More Lie has cool groove metal feel that hints at Pantera; In To Deep is a bit of an anthem with bit of a Maiden meets Anthrax thing going on. This Drug is a bit of an epic in the same vein as Metallica used to be before they sold out to the majors, Jealousy continues the classic Metallica vibe but this time incorporates a Mastodon style groove and closer Let Me Know is the real surprise, a mellow acoustic track that has a certain Black Stone Cherry feel to it.

To say I'm a little impressed with this one is an understatement. The production is spot on, it still maintains a little roughness around edges, and that is good. Ever since Metallica dropped a bollock with 'And Justice For All' there has been a trend amongst some metal acts to polish all the life and fire out their sound, but fortunately this is one trend Hate Gauge haven't picked up on. The sound here is crystal clear, but still raw and in your face like metal should be. And all praise to the performances, every member of this quartet delivers the goods in fine style, the playing is first rate, the vocals clear, melodic and powerful without ever needing to resort to pig grunts or power wails, and the song writing is top notch.

In short Hate Gauge have in Hope Envy Love and Lies delivered a cracking little gem of a mini album that should start to open doors for them. But don't take my word for it, its available through Amazon and the other usual outlets, go get a copy and see for yourself.

For fans of... Metallica, Pantera, Mastodon, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Elimination....

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