Wow, what a difference time makes. Brazil's....errrr...Finland's black metal destroyer, Hass, has matured beyond its raw, blackened roots to become something more grand, more epic. The album's opening track, Black Plasma is a perfect example of this with its bombastic, almost folky melodic tendencies and demonic underpinnings. For lack of a better comparison I am reminded of Temple In The Underworld era Root as you can discern classy melodies and strange vocals. Mythological strikes hard with a punky set of riffs and speedy vocal assault which takes a turn towards a more Bathory-esque approach as the song continues. However, Under Red Stench creeps along initially with a doomy, epic vibe. A hint of majestic sorrow and psychedelic musings are painted across the song and I am reminded a bit of the underground coldness of Carpathian Forest's Last Sigh Of Nostalgia. And then the pendulum swings back as blackened hate seeps out from every note of Obscure Innuendo. Bone hard vocals scrape across the fuzzed out guitars and marching beat. As guitar harmonics and snappy drums burst and crash a melodic passage flows in. Mojo Enigma begins with slowly flowing riffs and a fat bass sound. There is a certain doomy, 70s vibe to the song that warms the listener despite the rough, blackened vocals. The album draws to a close with an unexpected cover of The Beach Boys' Till I Die. They have taken the dreamy quality of the original and put some meat on its ravenous bones only to turn it into a horrific beast of a song. Twisted and ugly. Hass has grown by leaps and bounds from their last full-length and have produced an album that is mature, varied, and epic. They have punched holes in walls that I fully expect them to smash into dust with the next release. Applause is a masterful and confident album that you would do well to track down and experience for yourself.