How is it possible that such an impressive album remained unknown for decades, when a similar (though less important) titles appeared on CD several times? Without a doubt Hate (with their only LP) are one of the most underrated UK progressive bands from early 70’s! This dark, sinister and sometimes psychedelic music resembled a combination of early Procol Harum/Atomic Rooster-like Hammond organ sounds; tasty guitar leads and emotional, Spooky Tooth-like vocals. The session was engineered by Tom Allom who 10 years later gained fame by producting albums for Judas Priest and Def Leppard. Carefully remastered Hate Kills LP is simply a lost, progressive gem!….~
I came upon HATE-Hate Kills LP due to my love for RUBY’s 1974 “Red Crystal Fantasies” LP, both albums featuring the truly amazing voice of Rab Munro. Easily one of the most over-looked rock, prog, R&B vocalists in UK history, Rab Munro was truly a powerhouse singer with talent for miles (kind of like Terry Reid). Sadly, neither his efforts on HATE’s sole 1970 LP “Hate Kills” or RUBY’s sole 1974 “Red Crystal Fantasies” LP were given the the attention they deserved at the time or the respect which passing decades has afforded much lesser bands (RUBY’s LP has never even been released on CD, an absolute travesty as it is one of the coolest, most dynamic British rock albums of the 70’s).
But jumping back a few years before RUBY we have 1970’s HATE-“Hate Kills” LP. An album filled to the brim with stellar songwriting, excellent musicianship, and most importantly a wonderful dynamism which makes the album of interest to fans of early British prog-rock, early British hard rock/post-psych, and also straight up high quality indie rock/R&B. With its heavy Hammond organ (similar to Atomic Rooster) courtesy of Neil Bruce, juxtaposed against guitarist Jim Lacey’s tasteful, yet scorching guitar leads, and a super-tight rhythm section (Lenny Graham-Bass and Allan Pratt-Drums) and the amazing voice of Rab Munro, “Hate Kills” has something for everyone! Even superbly written and played horn accompaniment on several tracks.
It is accurate as the description on the back of the Flawed Gems CD reissue states that HATE were kind of like a bastard child of P. HARUM, ATOMIC ROOSTER (though they were just releasing their debut LP at the same time as HATE), and SPOOKY TOOTH. Yet HATE doesn’t exactly sound like any one of these bands as they very much had their own mood (ranging from exuberant to melancholy to downright dour) and took much effort to make each song kind of a little world unto its own, though a thread runs through the whole LP making it a cohesive artistic statement.
HATE-“Hate Kills” also features a tremendous production courtesy of Tony Chapman and future JUDAS PRIEST producer Tom Allom which brings out the lush and mammoth character of the band’s sound and treats Rab Munro’s supremely moving vocals just right. One can definitely picture HATE achieving success had a few breaks gone their way. It was no deficiency in their craft or approach which relegated this album to the realm of a “lost classic”. Likewise with RUBY’s ‘74 Chrysalis released “Red Crystal Fantasies” LP which should have been a full-blown smash. Sadly, sometimes deserving bands get either lost in the shuffle, edged out by lesser bands with better connections, or I believe in the case of both HATE and RUBY do not get the adequate support from their labels. Also, the fact that Rab Munro was not pushed and promoted as a powerhouse frontman was a huge missed opportunity.
So if you’re like me and love RUBY’s '74 LP then HATE’s '70 LP is a must! If you have never heard either band but simply love high quality early 70’s British rock then “Hate Kills” will bring you much enjoyment. Hopefully one day we can see RUBY’s “Red Crystal Fantasies” LP also get reissued on CD and HATE/RUBY vocalist Rab Munro can begin to finally get the attention and credit he so deeply deserved as a talent of huge proportions……. T. Kasuboski….~
• Back Again now with someone’s music that’s been with me a very long time- that of the Scottish vocalist Rab Munro who’s time in the annals of recording history was way too short and deserves some serious reappraisal for fans of progrock and straight forward British melodic rock.
• Rab (Ne’ Robert) began his career in the 60s singing with various Glasgow bands where his deep and resonant belting voice was popular on the R&B circuit. He probably sang in competition with the likes of the cream of that city’s rock vocalists- Dean Ford (Thomas MacAleese is his real name) and Marmalade had already departed for London and stardom, but Scotland was a hotbed of talent that would see Alex Harvey, Mike Patto, Tear Gas (who actually I think were one of the lesser Scottish bands truth be told), and Maggie Bell go onto cult fame throughout the UK.
• Come 1969 Mr. Munro was singing in the progressive/psych group House Of Lords not to be confused with the dreadful wet noodle hair plod rock band of the late 80s/90s from America who are still churning out schlock today. The original House Of Lords contained ex Three’s A Crowd drummer Alan Pratt and made only one single- “Land Of Dreams” the A Side ( I believe) is on a Rubble compilation CD I’ve had since 1995 and is an amazing song. For a one off the song is full of rich Procol Harum like organ work, strong vocals from Rab whose melodic, deep, and warm voice is perfect for the early progressive sound of the track with its phasing signalling an influence of several years earlier. With success not coming and the single going on to become an expensive rarity here is where things get interesting and a bit of something only I myself seem to be aware of. Just how House Of Lords had been tipping their caps to the progressive era with R&B taking a backseat they would go Underground in 1970 and change their name to the rather odd moniker of Hate.
• Signed to Famous Records/Regal Zonophone (an EMI imprint with many classy releases including fellow Scots Northwind) and miraculously Paramount in the US sometime in 1970 or early 1971 their lone album was released and just as soon they vanished without a trace. Sporting a frightening cover of a contorted-in-rage old man slamming his fist into a violently graffiti sprayed brick wall and in large white letters the album title “HATE KILLS” this is a really down and depressed effort that shows all the signs of change into progressive underground early 1970s British rock although I should point out that the songs are shortish and long solos weren’t in Hate’s repertoire. The album did not benefit from dubbed in brass arrangements, but that’s where any flaws end. The songwriting of organist Neil Bruce and guitarist Jim Lacey together with an excellent job done by Lenny Graham (Bass) and Alan Pratt (Drums) and Rab’s emotional voice made for a very impressive debut. Opening track “Come Along” sets the pace for a dark yet delightful album and Rab Munro shines as the quiet verses break into belting choruses. If I were to compare Hate to another band just imagine Genesis with Peter Gabriel if they wrote shorter songs and meandered less. You also could point to an unlikely pairing of 3 bands- Genesis, Free, and Procol Harum!!!! Yes, these guys were unique. In the United Kingdom unlike in the States you almost had to be good to make an album and the competition was full of great bands. I would say there was magic going on then that we’ll probably never see again. Hate share with us an album that stands among the best of the early progressive era and is miles ahead of bands like the worst pile of sick and gory shite ever Deep Feeling (the “Guillotine” group- not to be confused with Jim Capaldi’s band of the same name), Beggar’s Opera’s horrendous equally grim output, and Barclay James Harvest to name a few unworthy bands. For a band in league with Hate think of all the great music coming out then- Black Widow with my good buddy Kip Trevor on lead vocals, Stonehouse, Spirogyra, Indian Summer, Free, Dog That Bit People, Procol Harum, Genesis, Uriah Heep, all of the great ones! The lyrics to nearly all the songs are as deep and depressed as the cover ranging from anti war emotive Gothic rockers like “Come Along” to songs of illness and anger to the gruesome tale of suicide “Realization” which is really scary even after having heard the track some I would estimate 500 times by now!.
• People laugh at me for loving this album, but American audiences could for whatever reason never understand British or European rock. This album is British in every sense of what that Island stands for. Instead of obnoxious and gimmicky music made to sell big with the top 40 and radio crowds here you get deep, meaningful, soulful, and dynamic songs with Rab an absolute gem and the songs songs where you just have to dig deeper and let the music talk to you not you to it. Rab Munro wouldn’t make it like Paul Rodgers had or Cliff Bennett had before him in commercial terms, but he certainly could match anything Rodgers or other strong bluesy singers came up with. There is but one dud on this album- “It’s Alright To Run” and its pretty bad. The horn arrangement really fucks things up, the guitar sounds embarrassing like it was done it about half a take, and Rab Munro can’t fight against the obnoxious girly harmonies. You worry about Side Two with an opener like that, but never fear Hate come back storming with “She Needs Me” and after the graphically violent “Realization” the last song is the somewhat more upbeat “I’ll Live My Life For My Own Pleasure” anthem “I’m Moving Down.” which closes with thunder sound effects as they walk away into the shadowy world of forgotten obscurity. Hate’s album is a near perfect great album, but it just didn’t sell and the disillusioned band called it quits with all but Rab Munro disappearing back into day job or dole queue land…..Blake Mitchner….~
Neil Bruce — organ, piano, vocals
Lenny Graham — bass, vocals
Jim Lacey — guitar
Rab Munro — vocals
Alan Pratt — drums, percussion
A1 Come Along
A2 My Life
B1 She Needs Me
B2 Never Love Again
B3 Time For Change
C2 Seems Like Any Fool
C3 I’m Moving Down (Pt. l )
D1 I’m Moving Down ( Pt. ll )
D2 It’s Alright To Turn